Apple iPhone tops smartphone charts in 2nd quarter

The iPhone maker takes first place with 19 percent of the worldwide market, just ahead of a surging Samsung and a slumping Nokia, according to IDC.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
Apple reigns supreme in the second quarter, according to IDC.
Apple reigns supreme in the second quarter, according to IDC. IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker

In one short year, Apple has toppled Nokia and taken control of the worldwide smartphone market.

According to research firm IDC, Apple's sales of 20.3 million iPhones worldwide during the second quarter of 2011 helped the company secure 19.1 percent market share and lead all other vendors. The company's shipments grew 141.7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010 when it sold just 8.4 million iPhones and secured 13 percent share.

Apple's growth is all the more impressive when one considers that the iPhone 4 has been on store shelves for over a year now, and speculation abounds that it could be replaced with a new version of the device within weeks. However, Apple hasn't confirmed that it will, in fact, launch a new iPhone this year, and even the rumor mill can't seem to agree over whether the iPhone 5 will ship or if Apple will offer up an updated version of the iPhone 4.

Although Apple's year-over-year growth was strong, it was Samsung that stole the show. That company saw its shipments grow 380.6 percent year over year to settle at 17.3 million in the second quarter. At that level, Samsung was able to secure 16.2 percent share. Samsung's success is due mainly to the company's high-end devices, like the Galaxy S, IDC said.

"What originally began as a series of high-end smartphones has proliferated well into the mass-market, but has not strayed too far from its high-end roots," wrote about Samsung in its report on smartphone shipments. "Moreover, its steady cadence of device releases and updates has kept Samsung's smartphones well out in front of the competition."

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While Apple and Samsung had a strong quarter, Nokia didn't fare so well. That company saw its shipments decline 30.4 percent during the second quarter from 24 million last year to 16.7 million this year. What's more, Nokia, which was easily dominating the smartphone space last year with 37.3 percent share, was only able to secure 15.7 percent of the market last quarter.

"Nokia ceded the number one position for the first time in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker, with smartphone volumes dipping below the 20 million unit mark for the first time since 3Q09," IDC said. "Even as the company released new smartphones running on Symbian^3, demand for its products running on the aged Symbian platform has shifted to other devices."

That said, IDC acknowledged that Nokia's market share dip also has something to do with the state of its operation. Earlier this year, the company announced that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform would become the "principal" operating system on its line of smartphones. Nokia is currently focusing much of its efforts there, and will likely continue to take a short-term hit for the eventual goal of reestablishing its brand over the long-term.

Even so, Nokia is still leading the pack in total mobile phone shipments. Last month, IDC reported that Nokia shipped 88.5 million handsets during the second quarter, helping it to secure 24.2 percent share. Although its shipments were down 20.3 percent, the company still easily bested second-place Samsung, which shipped 70.2 million mobile phones during the period, securing 19.2 percent market share. LG came in third with 6.8 percent share on 24.8 million phone shipments.

Back to smartphones, Research In Motion and HTC rounded out the top five, securing 11.6 percent and 11 percent market share, respectively. RIM's shipments were up 10.7 percent year over year, while HTC's grew by 165.9 percent.

Overall, the worldwide smartphone market grew by 65.4 percent to 106.5 million shipments, IDC said.

IDC's findings follow a similar report last week from research firm Strategy Analytics. That company said 110 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter, and the market was led by Apple with 18.5 percent share. Samsung, the firm said, secured the second spot with 17.5 percent share on 19.2 million smartphones shipped. Nokia came in third in Strategy Analytics' report with 15.2 percent share.