"Other" vendors sell 10% of Smartphones but 30% of voice-oriented phones

In the last post, I highlighted the difference between smartphones and non-smart device sales last quarter. The trajectory of share growth for smart devices would appear to have accelerated due to Android.

The following charts show the evolution of smartphone vendors and platforms over the last few years.

Like in the past, I used color clustering to show the separation between “integrated” (in green) and “modular” (in brown) platforms and their users.

Unlike the non-smart market where “other” make up 30% of the market, smartphones are still a big brand business. “Other” make up only 11% of units. and that number has been trending down. It would seem that the age of unbranded Android phones is still not upon us.

Comparing three years “before and after” here is Q1 2008 vs. Q1 2011 by vendors share:


Apple added 15% of share, Samsung 13%, Motorola 4%, RIM and HTC 2%. Nokia lost nearly 20% of share.

From a platform point of view, the unit chart looks like this:

Note that Android’s growth came at a time when Symbian had a terrible quarter. The evidence is visible in the share chart:

Android’s gain seems to be at the expense of Other, Windows Mobile and Symbian. In the pie chart snapshot over a three year period the transfer seems clear.

Android took 35% of share, iOS 14% and RIM 1%. Windows Mobile/Phone has collapsed to 2%.

But again I would caution about drawing “sustainability” conclusions from looking at this market with a share perspective. As it’s growing at a huge rate (73% year/year) it’s bound to be become so large that single digit share numbers still amount to vast ecosystems while huge shares of fragmented products don’t amount to much of value. To emphasize the point, I would remind that in 2008 Symbian was not just Nokia but a lot of “Other” was made up of Symbian in Japan. The combined fragmented footprint of Symbian was well over 60% of the market. It did not do much good for the platform.

  • Yet another set of great visualizations. But who/what are the two discontinuous patches of brown in the first chart?

    • asymco

      The colors are consistent by vendor. When data is missing it appears discontinuous. If data for a vendor is missing it's assumed to be part of "other".

  • sam doji

    Horace, what about unit price vs market share. Who dominate and at what price tier when it comes to smartphones.Even though it seems Apple dominate the higher price tier vs all others, the distribution of price tier vs market share would tell us where the trend is going i guess.

    • asymco

      There is limited data for price points for smartphones. That information would need to be provided by vendors since end user pricing is not vendor pricing and prices negotiated by vendors for operators are trade secrets. We have data for companies who sell only smartphones (RIM, HTC and Apple) but it's aggregate pricing for their entire portfolios. So we know what HTC got as an average price across all their phones but not what each phone cost or how many of them were sold.

  • iOSweekly

    Great Charts Horace…again!

    Its interesting to see that although Nokias % share has dropped from 45% to 24% – it is still selling alot more smartphone units at 24% share than it did at 45%.

    Its feasible that in a couple more years that it may only have 10-15% share, but if the smartphone market keeps growing as it is, it could mean that nokia smartphones with windows phone 7 will be shipping 100 million units + a year. Maybe there IS hope for Microsoft on phones afterall.

    • asymco

      100 million units may be a stretch for version "7" but I generally agree that WP has potential to sell in volume. If only because operators will continue to promote it and Microsoft will continue to develop it.

  • Thank you Horace for another informative post.

    To me, these charts prove that the 5-year forecasts by Gartner etc should not be taken seriously, especially given the dynamic and scale of growth the market is experiencing at this moment.

  • Sander van der Wal

    The Japanese Symbian phones were feature phones, you could not write software for them, let alone sell, give away or even install that software.

    Which brings me to the point of ecosystem sustainability. How much money is being made by third parties in all those ecosystems, and how is that amount changing over time? Metrics like platform size and app downloads have been around since the beginning of time, but are at best secondary compared to the amount of money being made in that ecosystem.

  • masquisieras

    What I would like to know is where the missing 1% of RIM and APPLE and a 2% of Nokia goes from the top smartphone builder to the top platform of 2011.

  • Horace, would be great if you could do some deeper dives on some of the mass produced Android handsets from Taiwanese and Chinese manufacturers. Would love to know, for example, what % of ZTE’s handsets are smart vs legacy voice.

  • JamesW

    What is Microsoft's business model with Windows Phone? From the perspective of winning a vendor's business, their competitor is not Apple but Android. Since Android is given for free, how do they make money off Windows Phone?

  • There is no way the Windows phone will be sold in major volume. It a subpar OS and you have Android and Apple dominating on top of that you have WebOS as well.