The success of Apple’s hugely popular iPhone range has seen it overtake Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, as one of the world’s biggest mobile phone companies.
Apple shipped 14.1 million handsets during the most recent financial quarter, up 91 per cent on the same quarter last year, according to analysts at Strategy Analytics.
Bumper sales of Apple’s flagship iPhone 4 has seen the company outperform Research in Motion, the Canadian company that makes the BlackBerry range of smartphone devices. RIM shipped 12.4 million units during that period, an increase of 46 per cent on the same quarter last year.
The reversal of fortunes has prompted some industry experts to question whether the popularity of the BlackBerry could be on the wane, as other devices match the mobile emailer for efficiency and usability.
A total of 327 million mobile phones were shipped worldwide during the third financial quarter of this year, up from 291 million on the same period last year. Strategy Analytics said that growth had been less than expected and slightly down on the first six months of the year, but blamed this on component shortages and ongoing economic volatility which “slightly constrained volumes”.
Nokia remained the biggest mobile phone maker in the world, shipping 110.4 million handsets worldwide during the third financial quarter. The company has undergone a shake-up in recent months, with several key executives, including chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, announcing their departure.
Strategy Analytics said this figure represented just a two per cent annual growth on the same figure last year, but was the ninth consecutive quarter in which the troubled Finnish company had grown volumes above the market average.
“Component constraints aside, much of Nokia’s growth during the next quarter will depend on the success of its four high-profile new models, the Nokia N8, C7, C6-01 and E7,” said Strategy Analytics in its report. “The first three handsets will be attacking Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung, while the E7 will set is sights on RIM, HTC and others.”
Samsung, which shipped 71 million handsets in the third quarter, and LG, which shipped 24.8 million devices, made up the rest of the top five handset makers.
Strategy Analytics warned that LG’s apparent inability to capitalise on the premium smartphone boom was “causing financial pain”, and also said that Samsung was experiencing a “healthy demand” for Android-based devices which was helping to drive its success.
It is anticipated that around 1.3 billion handsets will have been shipped by the end of this year, the biggest every annual total. However, Strategy Analytics warned that the “volatile supply” of some key components could prevent some vendors from delivering the full range of phones they had hoped to provide.