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Worldwide Converged Mobile Device Market Grows 39.0% Year Over Year in Fourth Quarter, Says IDC

The worldwide converged mobile device market (commonly referred to as smartphones) reached a new record level in a single quarter. According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 54.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2009 (4Q09), up 39.0% from the same quarter a year ago. For the full year, vendors shipped a total of 174.2 million units in 2009, up 15.1% from the 151.4 million units in 2008. Converged mobile devices accounted for 15.4% of all mobile phones shipped in 2009, up slightly from 12.7% in 2008.

"Four of the top five vendors established new shipment records for a single quarter, indicating strong demand in the market," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "Increasingly, mobile phone users are seeking greater utility from their devices beyond telephony and messaging, and converged mobile devices fulfill that need. To help address demand, carriers took advantage of lower prices on many older devices, ordering additional units and, in turn, offering reduced prices to end users. It was the perfect set of conditions to push shipments to a record level."

Market Outlook for 2010

IDC anticipates that ongoing demand will drive the worldwide converged mobile device market to a new shipment record in 2010, with additional impetus from the shifting landscape of mobile operating systems. "2009 was the coming-out party for Google's Android and Palm's webOS as both operating systems revealed new ways to surround the users with increased functionality," says Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. "More advances are in store for 2010 as Symbian and Windows are expected to unveil new versions of their respective operating systems. These and other operating systems will compete with attention-grabbing intuitiveness and seamlessness, a thriving mobile application library, and a compelling user experience that tightly holds on to the user. In the end, users will benefit from not only greater usability, but greater personalization and customization as well."

Top Five Converged Mobile Device Vendors, 4Q09

Nokia ended the year the same way that it began: as the undisputed leader of converged mobile devices worldwide. Nokia's shift to bring more touchscreen-enabled smartphones to market began to pay off, as its 5800, N97, N97 mini, and 5530 models drove both revenue and profits. In addition, Nokia quickly pointed out the competitiveness of its Eseries devices. While these results signify important milestones for the company's converged mobile device unit, it should be pointed out that reduced prices on many older models helped drive unit growth.

Research In Motion topped the ten million unit mark for the first time in the company's history. New device launches, including the high-end Bold 9700, touchscreen-enabled Storm 2 9550, and the mass-market targeted 8520, deepened the company's product portfolio, and lower prices on its popular Curve and Pearl models - in some cases being given away for free with a two-year service agreement - propelled shipments further.

Apple's iconic iPhone added another chapter to its short history by nearly doubling its shipments from the same quarter a year ago. Demand for the Apple iPhone continued unabated during the holiday quarter, and agreements with multiple carriers within the same market enabled further distribution. The fourth quarter also saw the launch of the iPhone at one of the world's largest carriers: China Unicom.

Motorola returned to the top five vendor list after a year-long hiatus. The company fulfilled its promise of launching its first Android-powered devices before the end of the year, and earned a warm reception as combined shipments of its DROID at Verizon Wireless and the CLIQ/DEXT at multiple carriers reached two million units in their debut. Motorola still offered versions of its legacy devices, including versions of the Windows Mobile-powered Q and the Linux powered MING A1800, RAZR 2V8, and Tundra in multiple markets.

HTC launched a new marketing campaign in 4Q09 showing how 'you don't need a phone, you need a phone that gets you.' This approach speaks to how its multifaceted devices align with users' multifaceted lives. While it may be too early to gauge the success of the campaign, it does bring the company's brand to the forefront. HTC continues to enjoy the success of its deep touchscreen-enabled device portfolio, and added the Android-powered Eris and Hero to its growing Android selection.

Top Five Converged Mobile Device Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q4 2009 (Units in Millions)

Vendor  

4Q09 Unit
Shipments

 

4Q09 Market
Share

  4Q08 Unit
Shipments
 

4Q08 Market
Share

  4Q09/4Q08
Growth
1. Nokia 20.8 38.2% 15.1 38.5% 37.7%
2. Research In Motion 10.7 19.6% 7.6 19.4% 40.8%
3. Apple 8.7 16.0% 4.4 11.2% 97.7%
4. Motorola 2.5 4.6% 1.6 4.1% 56.3%
5. HTC 2.4 4.4% 2.2 5.6% 9.1%
Others 9.4 17.2% 8.3 21.2% 13.3%
Total 54.5 100.0% 39.2 100.0% 39.0%

Top Five Converged Mobile Device Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, 2009 (Units in Millions)

Vendor   2009 Unit
Shipments
 

2009 Market
Share

  2008 Unit
Shipments
 

2008 Market
Share

 

2009/2008
Change

1. Nokia 67.7 38.9% 60.5 40.0% 11.9%
2. Research In Motion 34.5 19.8% 23.6 15.6% 46.2%
3. Apple 25.1 14.4% 13.8 9.1% 81.9%
4. HTC 8.1 4.6% 7.5 5.0% 8.0%
5. Samsung 5.7 3.3% 5.4 3.6% 5.6%
Others 33.1 19.0% 40.6 26.8% -18.5%
Total 174.2 100.0% 151.4 100.0% 15.1%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 4, 2010

Note: Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

Mobile Phones – These small, battery-powered, voice-centric devices utilize operator-provided cellular/PCS air interfaces for voice communication. They are designed primarily, in both form factor and feature set, for a compelling mobile telephony experience, but may also include text-messaging capability. Mobile phones may include a headset jack for hands-free operation as well as a variety of features, such as personal information management, multimedia, games, or office applications. Mobile phones exist at all points along the form factor, price point, and feature set continua. Mobile phones that combine voice communications capabilities with pen or keypad handheld data features are tracked within the Converged Devices category.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or [email protected].

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 46 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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