It is a well known fact that Nokia leads the converged device/smartphone market throughout the world, as confirmed by recent IDC and Canalys reports. In fact, as of the 4th quarter of 2006, Nokia had about 50% of the worldwide market share in converged devices. RIM and Motorola were in second and third with the majority of the Motorola devices being Linux based devices selling in Asia. The IDC report then had Sharp and Panasonic (Linux) in 4th and 5th, while Canalys showed Palm and Sony Ericsson. The second through 5th place vendors shown each have something from 5 to 8 percent of the market share, but there is a catch all vendor labeled Others that has 23.5 percent (IDC) or 24.3 percent (Canalys). These are not the Others from Lost, but who are they?
"The robust growth in converged device shipments in 2006 was driven by substantially decreased price points and a greater selection of devices for consumers to chose from," said Ryan Reith, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "Competitive pressures have driven price points below $200, making converged mobile devices more affordable to a broader base of users. More than ever before, vendors are focused on providing greater capabilities that differentiate their products while keeping costs in check."
While HTC does make many of the Palm branded devices, there are a slew of Windows Mobile converged devices in Europe, the United States, and worldwide that I think make up the majority of this Others vendor category and are not really giving us a good picture of the global makeup of the mobile device market. HTC manufacturers something on the order of 80 to 85 percent of the Windows Mobile devices worldwide, yet we don't really see these numbers reflected in these reports. I think what may confuse things with HTC manufactured products is that the HTC vendor name is only applied to a couple devices while most all HTC devices are sold under other vendor names. For example there are T-Mobile, Dopod, Orange, QTEK, i-mate, Verizon, Cingular, Sprint, and more branded products that are all manufactured by HTC.
The Canalys report actually does make mention of Windows Mobile and estimates that Symbian has 67% of the market, Windows Mobile has 14%, RIM has 7%, Linux has 6%, and ACCESS/PalmSource has 5%. So in terms of operating system Windows Mobile comes in at a clear second, yet this is not reflected in the list of vendor marketshare that is so prominently displayed and quoted on the internet. The actual definition that each research firm uses for smartphone and converged devices also is not clear and I wonder if the Nokia dominance is really only for converged devices like the Nseries and Eseries. IDC reports that over 80 million devices were sold in 2006, while Canalys states that 64.1 millin units were sold in 2006 so they are definitely counting different devices in their research. While I personally think all S60 devices are smartphones, but millions of them appear as standard feature phones to the majority of users and may not really be defined as converged devices. I think it would be extremely helpful if a bit more information about what Nokia devices were considered in these marketshare numbers.