Apple and Android gain share as Nokia falls

iPhone 4

Apple and Android made solid gains in mobile sales during the first quarter, as rivals like Nokia saw declines, according to a Gartner report.

Apple sold 16.9 million iPhone units globally in the first quarter of 2011, pushing its market share up to 3.9 per cent from 2.3 per cent in the same period of 2010.

The firm more than doubled its sales of iPhones year-on-year.

"This strong performance helped Apple consolidate its position as the fourth largest brand in the mobile communication market overall," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

"Considering the higher than average price of the iPhone, this is a remarkable result and highlights the impact that a strong aspirational brand can have on a product."

In smartphone sales by operating system, Android was the dominant force, seeing its market share skyrocket from 9.6 per cent to 36 per cent.

A total of 36.2 million Android devices were sold to users in the first quarter of 2011.

HTC's market share went up from 0.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent, selling 9.3 million devices. It was ranked seventh in the overall market.

Despite having its strongest quarter ever, Samsung saw its share decline from 18 per cent to 16.1 per cent. Gartner said the company will be helped by new releases though, such as the highly rated Samsung Galaxy S II.

Overall, mobile communication device sales to end users increased 19 per cent year-on-year.

Nokia decline

Nokia had another bad quarter in terms of market share, falling 5.5 per cent year-on-year. This led to its share being Nokia's lowest since 1997.

The Finnish firm will be hoping its first Windows Phone 7 devices will win users back, although no confirmation has arrived on when these handsets will be available.

In the OS market, Symbian saw its share fall from 44.2 per cent to 27.4 per cent.

Gartner predicted Nokia will drastically lower prices in areas where service providers control sales channels, as it looks to maintain shipments of Symbian phones.

Towards the end of last month, Nokia cut 4,000 jobs and sent another 3,000 over to Accenture as part of a Symbian partnership.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.