Who Are the Top Five Mobile Phone Makers?

With all the noise and hype surrounding the launch of snazzy new smartphones in the past few weeks, like Apple's iPhone 4S, Research in Motion's BlackBerry 7, and Nokia's new Lumias, it would be easy to assume that the market for so-called "feature phones" is dead.

That would be wrong, although sales growth is declining as users hang onto their existing feature phones while they wait to buy new smartphones just coming onto the market, according to the latest report from analyst firm IDC.

Still, while growth in sales of feature phones is slowing, they're still selling in traditional markets for them, including in the Asia/Pacific region excluding Japan, and in Western and Central Europe, along with the Middle East and Africa, IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker said.

Counting both smartphones and feature phones, there were a total of 393.7 million mobile phones sold globally during the third quarter of 2011, up from 348.9 million or 12.8 percent in the same quarter a year ago.

"It was also the second-lowest growth rate for the overall mobile phone market over the past two years, a reflection of delayed smartphone purchases and conservative consumer spending last quarter," the report said.

However, the growth was higher than the 9.3 percent rate that IDC had initially forecast, and what ultimately is driving most growth is the increasing popularity of smartphones. The iPhone 4S was launched after the quarter ended, while the BlackBerry 7 came out near the quarter's end, and Nokia's Lumia phones debuted in just the last week.

Nokia still holds the polling position in phones overall, shipping 106.6 million in the quarter, but even with a market share of 27.1 percent, that's a decline from 110.4 million phones in the previous year's quarter when Nokia had 31.6 percent share.

Meanwhile, Samsung gained on Nokia during the period, shipping 87.8 million units compared to 71.4 million a year ago, moving it from 20.5 percent share in 2010 to 22.3 percent in the most recent quarter.

LG Electronics and ZTE are next in line, with 21.1 million phones and 19.1 million, or shares of 5.4 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

Additionally, despite all the excitement generated by the iPhone, Apple still holds a distant fifth-place, with 17.1 million phones which, although a gain of 3 million units from the third quarter of 2010, still leaves the company with only a 4.3 percent market share.


Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Apple, Nokia, Samsung, mobile phones