Apple beats RIM to number two smartphone spot

Apple’s finally overtaken RIM in terms of worldwide smartphone sales and is creeping up behind market-dominating Nokia.

According to Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped around 14.1 million iPhones during the third quarter this year, compared to just 12.1 million Blackberries from RIM.

While RIM saw shipments increase by about 45 percent on last year, Apple’s pretty much doubled its figures. RIM, says Strategy Analytics, is still being held back by its limited presence in the high-growth touchscreen segment, and its global smartphone marketshare has edged down from 20 percent to 16 percent during the past 12 months. 

Nokia remained solidly in the lead, shipping record volumes of more than 26 million smartphones – but this wasn’t enough to stop its global market share dipping to a low of 34 percent.

“Global smartphone shipments grew an impressive 78 percent annually to reach a record 77 million units in Q3 2010,” says Tom Kang, director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple was the star performer during the quarter, as it captured a record 18 percent marketshare, overtook RIM and closed the gap on Nokia.”

The high figures come despite continuing shortages of touchscreens and other components – although this may be a problem as volumes continue to rise.

“Global smartphone shipments grew 78 percent from a year earlier, the industry’s fastest rate since the mid-2000s,” says director Neil Mawston. “However, the surging volumes are placing heavy demands on component suppliers and moderate shortages of select components are emerging ahead of the Q4 holiday season.”