The Q4 smartphone analysis by Canalys adds some interesting perspective to the market. To the surprise of many, Apple is the #3 slot in global smartphone shipments. Nokia is still king of the heap, growing at a paltry 69% while RIM holds the #2 spot, growing 112%.
But here in North America, things are changing fast. The North American market for smartphone shipments doubled from ’06 to ’07, climbing to 20.9 million (up from 10.3 in ’06) and is the fastest growing region for smartphones. One might suggest we North Americans either love our smartphones or someone has given us a reason to buy smartphones in droves.
Apple gives the beat-down to Windows Mobile
Canalys estimates Apple attained a 28% share of the US market, besting all Windows Mobile device vendors combined with 21% of the market. I probably don’t need to point out that Apple did this with one product on one carrier limiting choice and access. Apple is a bit behind #1 RIM’s 41% stranglehold boosted by phones like the slim Pearl in North America but miles ahead of Palm who managed to ship only 9%.
Apple into the future
To me, the most interesting part of this are analysts jabbing into the future to see what they can hit. Canalys senior analyst had this to say about Apple:
“What it must demonstrate now is that it can build a sustainable business in the converged device space, expanding its coverage and product portfolio. … Experience shows that a vendor with only one smart phone design, no matter how good that design is, will soon struggle. A broad, continually refreshed portfolio is needed to retain and grow share in this dynamic market. This race is a marathon, but you pretty much have to sprint every lap.”
Will we see an iPhone Nano anytime soon? Does Cupertino really see a 2G iPhone and a 3G iPhone as a breadth of options for consumers? Do identical phones with different memory stats fit the bill? As I’ve posted before, I think we’ll see smaller devices based on the iPhone from Apple will trickle out to the masses. Of course how soon is the tricky part.