By Jonathan Charles | Jun 16, 2012 12:01 PM EDT
New findings from ABI Research reveal that despite the smartphone market growing, Apple and Samsung are the leading OEMs with control over half the market. So why are the two companies stifling competition, despite overall growth?
The findings from ABI Research said smartphone shipments have grown 41 percent year-on-year to 144.6 million units, as of March 2012. However Apple and Samsung claimed 55 percent of the market, and a staggering more-than-90-percent of the profits. The research didn't name Android and Google as key players during the quarter, despite the open source mobile operating system being the most popular worldwide.
Apple's advances in the market are probably, at least partially, down to the iPhone 3GS being touted as a low-end smartphone - it's currently available for free on contract - while new features such as voice recognition technology Siri caused the iPhone 4S to sell rapidly. Regarding Samsung, the company works with Apple to provide technology for the latter's devices and the continued success of the Samsung Galaxy S2 - selling 20 million units - and the announcement of the Galaxy S3 caused record pre-orders at UK carrier Vodafone.
The decline of other providers, such as Nokia, has probably also led to increased market share. Despite Microsoft's partnership with the company to produce Windows Phones, Nokia recently announced more layoffs and revised quarterly forecasts, resulting in the termination of new operating systems aimed at low-end users.
During Q1 2012, Samsung and Apple shipped 43 and 35 million smartphones respectively. In third place, despite a 40 percent decline in shipments, Nokia sold 11.9 million units. However, BlackBerry maker RIM could pass Nokia despite a 20 percent decline in shipments with 11.1 million smartphones shipped. RIM announced BlackBerry 10 on May 1 - its reboot of the BlackBerry OS as the company looks to compete with Apple and Google.
"At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments," Michael Morgan, senior analyst of devices, applications and content said.
The announcement of iOS 6 also revealed Apple's support for Chinese, and ABI Research said OEMs should look towards the region - which showed shipment growth over 80 percent - for continued success. Nokia's decline has partly been due to its dwindling presence in the market, described as a "power vacuum" for smartphone OEMs.
Local vendors Huawei and ZTE shipped 6.8 and 4.9 million units respectively and offer low-end smartphones, the area which Apple has struggled to own and could yet use to increase its market share.
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