Android partners post highest smartphone growth rates

9 Aug 2010

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Smartphone shipments in the second quarter grew to 63m from 41m a year earlier. Google Android partners like HTC and Samsung posted the highest year-over-year growth rates, according to IDC.

The worldwide smartphone market grew 50pc year-over-year in the second quarter of 2010, driven in large part by makers of smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 63 million units in the second quarter, compared to 41.9 million units in the same period one year ago.

For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 118.3 million units, up 54pc from the 76.8 million units shipped during the first half of 2009.

Google’s smartphone partners, such as HTC and Samsung, posted the highest year-over-year growth rates in IDC’s 2Q10 smartphone Top 10 vendor rankings. In fact, four of the top 10 vendors, all of whom predominantly ship Android-powered smartphones, posted year-over-year growth rates greater than 100pc.

The top supplier of Android devices last quarter, on a unit shipment basis, was HTC.

“Emerging smartphone suppliers, such as HTC, that are allied closely with Google gained share at the expense of the historic top smartphone players last quarter,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program.

“This is largely a result of greater consumer interest in smartphones generally and Android devices in particular."

Market outlook for 2010

"The worldwide smartphone market will continue this explosive growth in the second half of 2010, setting up a critical starting point for 2011," said Ramon Lllamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team.

“That more smartphone models will be launched is a given, but just as important is the anticipated launch of several refreshed operating systems. Both BlackBerry and Symbian 3 are poised with fresh, yet familiar experiences while Windows Phone 7 promises a complete break from previous versions.

“All these are expected to launch in the second half of 2010, and their reception among end users will indicate their future in this fast-growing segment of the market for 2011 and beyond.”

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors Q2 2010

Nokia remained the clear No 1 smartphone vendor worldwide, but cited challenges on the high end of the smartphone market from the competition, resulting in declining ASPs. Furthermore, Nokia’s progress year-over-year did not keep up with the overall growth of the smartphone market. With the upcoming launch of the Symbian 3-powered N8 and its new MeeGo operating systems, Nokia hopes to create and capture value within the high end of the market while maintaining its strong presence within the entry-level and mid-range segments.

Research In Motion (RIM) broke the 11 million unit shipment figure for the first time in the company’s history, due in part to the BlackBerry Pearl 3G and the BlackBerry Tour 9650 product launches across multiple markets. RIM maintained its second place global smartphone position for the seventh consecutive quarter. It posted triple-digit growth and gained smartphone share in regions such as Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan). However, its global share dipped on a year-over-year basis. In North America, RIM lost share for the fifth straight quarter. RIM hopes its new Bold 9800 device (aka The Torch), featuring BlackBerry OS 6.0, will help it regain lost share to Android partners and Apple in quarters to come.

Apple maintained its global No 3 smartphone supplier position thanks to record shipments, despite the furore over iPhone 4 reception problems. Overall, Apple continues to benefit from high consumer awareness and international expansion efforts. Apple is set to introduce the iPhone 4 to users in 17 countries in the third quarter.

HTC recorded positive progress during the second quarter, having more than doubled its shipment volumes from a year ago, and posting healthy double-digit profit margins and steady ASPs. The company also used the quarter to launch several key hero devices, including the Desire, Droid Incredible, EVO 4G and the HD2. As a result, HTC has found itself well positioned within the high end of the smartphone market. Such fast growth put pressure on its supply chain, but the company believes it is well positioned to meet demand during the second half of the year.

Samsung,the world’s second largest mobile phone supplier, supplanted Motorola in the Top 5 smartphone rankings last quarter. The company shipped a record number of smartphones and posted its highest smartphone growth rate since the third quarter of 2008. Samsung benefited from a strong performance in the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region where it launched Galaxy S series devices in markets such as South Korea. Samsung hopes to outperform the market again in the third quarter when it introduces the Galaxy S series of phones to North America.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com