Research firm Canalys has announced that Apple has taken the second spot in the smartphone market in the third quarter of this year, passing Research in Motion’s Blackberry. However, both the iPhone and the Blackberry actually gained market share at the expense of top vendor Nokia, which still has about 38.9 percent of the market, down from about 51.4 percent a year earlier.
The iPhone has 17.3 percent share, while RIM’s 15.2 percent, and Windows Mobile is in fourth place with 13.6 percent. And while this is a big step for Apple, it will be interesting to see if the company maintains the spot given that RIM has a number of devices for the fourth quarter including the Storm, Flip and Bold. Additionally, the iPhone has been a device that consumers line up to buy as soon as it is available, so it will be interesting to see if sales continue to be as strong in the final quarter of the year.
This does prove that Apple has some staying power in the mobile smartphone space, but now the question is how will Apple build on its success. Of note is the fact that the company has launched the latest iPod Touch, which uses the same core platform as the iPhone, meaning some consumers could opt for the iPod for music, games and movies and use a different communications device.
Not everything moved up, mobile phone sales worldwide slowed in the third quarter, while the smartphone market has grown by 28 percent from a year ago. Today, there are more than 40 million handsets in people’s hands or pockets. And while Nokia has seen its market share drop slightly, the company also has several new models in the pipeline.
Lastly, Symbian, the largest software vendor for mobile handsets (not just limited to smartphones), saw its market share fall to 46.6 percent from 68.1 percent a year ago. Maybe this is a sign that consumers do indeed want a smarter phone.