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Samsung still king of smartphones, Nokia falls out of top 5

No matter how many times you see research showing just how far Nokia has fallen, it’s still jarring. Once the world’s largest mobile phone company, it has fallen so far from grace that it isn’t even one of the world’s top five smartphone producers.

And while Nokia keeps falling, Samsung and Apple just keep on shimmying up the ladder. According to the latest research from IDC, some 179.7-million units were shipped in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 123.7-million units in the same period last year. The 45.3% year-over-year growth was apparently slightly above IDC’s forecast of 45.2% for the quarter.

Of those, roughly 56.3-million had the Samsung logo on them, more than double the number it sold in the same period last year, while Apple shipped 26.9-million iPhones to take 15% of the global marketshare.

That’ll probably only increase as the iPhone 5 hits more global markets.

Top 5 smartphone vendors

According to a number of manufacturers have benefited from Nokia’s decline, eating into its marketshare. Its fall out of the top five is even more jarring when you realise it’s been in that position since 2004. Among the other players eating into feasting on its decline is Huawei in China, where Nokia was the dominant player as recently as the third quarter of 2011.

“Nokia’s share losses have meant gains for competitors,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The company’s transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months. However, the smartphone market is still relatively nascent, which means there’s room for multiple vendors and operating systems to flourish, including Nokia.”

As Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team notes however, Nokia isn’t the only company in a difficult transition period:

Research In Motion, although still a market leader, expects to start shipping its first BB10 devices in 2013. Motorola, once the number three smartphone vendor worldwide, is redirecting itself under its parent company Google. These are just two vendors among many that feel the competitive pressure of Samsung and Apple, but are striving to create multiple points of differentiation to assert upward pressure.

Smartphones now make up over a quarter of the global mobile phone market by IDC’s numbers. The market as a whole is also growing, with 444.5-million mobile phones shipped this quarter compared to 434.1 million units in the third quarter of 2011.

While Apple and Android are still the dominant OSes by a long way, the announcement of Windows 8 phones by the likes of HTC and Samsung, could see Microsoft’s new OS surging up the ranks.

Author | Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you catch him, if you can, at a Silicon Cape event every now and again. More

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