99.6 million units shipped in the year
Worldwide smartphone market grew 79.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2011, driven by a combination of vendors releasing highly anticipated models, widespread availability of older smartphones at lower prices, and sustained end-user demand, according to IDC.
Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 99.6 million units in first quarter of 2011, nearly double from the 55.4 million units in the first quarter of 2010.
IDC mobile phone technology and trends team senior research analyst Ramon Llamas said conditions in the smartphone market are creating a perfect storm for sustained smartphone growth
"First, vendors are increasingly emphasising smartphones as the key to their own growth. Second, selection has proliferated from mostly high-end devices to include more mid-range and entry-level offerings," Llamas said.
"Third, pricing has become increasingly competitive, with even high-end devices available at low price points. Finally, users continue to seek greater utility from their mobile phone beyond voice, and smartphones have been the ideal solution. Altogether, these add up to continued smartphone growth throughout the year."
Nokia, despite announcing its intentions to move from Symbian to Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS, maintained its top position in the smartphone market.
Demand for Symbian-powered smartphones remained strong within its traditionally strongest markets of EMEA and Asia/Pacific, and Nokia continues to announce more devices running on Symbian, including the E6 and the X7.
Apple reached a new record shipment volume in a single quarter, and inched closer to market leader Nokia with fewer than six million units separating the two companies.
Apple posted market-beating year-on-year growth and recorded triple-digit growth in two key markets: the US, with the release of its CDMA-enabled iPhone, and China. Additionally, the company enlisted South Korean Telecom and Saudi Telecom as carrier providers of the iPhone.
Research In Motion (RIM) remained in third place from the previous quarter, as the company grew its presence outside of its home territory of North America.
RIM launched several 3G devices to the market, and recently announced two new BlackBerry smartphones running on its new BlackBerry 7 OS.
Samsung posted the largest year-on-year gain of any other vendor on the list. The market research firm said that with a multiple OS strategy in place, Samsung has been able to grow its smartphone portfolio to meet the needs of a diverse market.
Accounting for the majority of its smartphones and driving shipment volumes higher was the continued success of its Android-based smartphones, including the high-end Galaxy S devices and mass-market Galaxy Ace and Galaxy mini devices.
In addition, Samsung’s bada-powered Wave devices and Windows Phone 7 devices continued to gain traction.
HTC posted another record shipment volume, nearly surpassing the 10 million unit mark for the first time.
The company also announced multiple new devices, including the Facebook-optimised Salsa and ChaCha. HTC launched several new devices, including its Inspire 4G, WiMAX-enabled EVO Shift 4G, and LTE-enabled Thunderbolt.