Reigning in the top slot for 14 years, Nokia is all set to lose its smartphone crown to Samsung and Apple. Next quarter (2011Q2), the rankings of top smartphone makers would read Samsung, Apple and Nokia followed by LG, RIM and HTC. These are predictions right now but they aren’t entirely baseless.

First off, Nokia is still looking for a smartphone strategy and not shipping as many Symbian phones as it should. It is waiting for its first Windows phone to be shipped which won’t be until 2012. What will happen until then? Samsung which has a very smart smartphone strategy will overtake Nokia to become the top smartphone maker.

In the first quarter of 2011, Samsung has shipped 68.8 million phones. Nokia has shipped 107.6 million phones. There is no clear statistic of how many smartphones were sold by manufacturer, though we have it by the OS they run. It becomes all the more difficult for manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and LG because of the varied platforms they use. Samsung uses Android and Bada for its smartphones. HTC uses Android and Windows for its smartphones.

For Nokia it is safe to assume that all the Symbian powered phones are sold by Nokia thus giving Nokia’s smartphone count. For Apple there is no ambiguity at all. Which means, 27.6 million Symbian phones or Nokia smartphones are sold in the first quarter of 2011. Apple sold 13 million iPhones. In the first quarter, Samsung should have been somewhere in between Nokia and Apple with its Bada and Android powered phones.

Multiple things have to happen for Samsung and Apple to beat Nokia.

  1. Nokia has to sell less than 27 million smartphones if we are looking at Quarter on quarter growth. Something less than 20 million?
  2. Apple has to sell more than 13 million smartphones. Somewhere around 20 million phones would be a good bet.
  3. Samsung has to sell more smartphones than Nokia or its shipments should be in the vicinity of 27 million. Given the first quarter of 2011 is Samsung’s strongest quarter, Samsung has to beat all forecasts. With its product portfolio and aggressive push, I don’t see a reason why that wouldn’t happen.

These possibilities are considering quarter on quarter growth for 2011. If we are looking at second quarter of 2010 to second quarter of 2011, then it would slightly different picture with the 2010 numbers being a little less. The order and the challenge would still remain.

Nokia losing smartphone crown shouldn’t come as a surprise. There might be a time when LG and HTC could beat Nokia. However Nokia would still remain the top mobile phone manufacturer – feature phone and smartphone combined. That would be a saving grace for Nokia. As for Samsung and Apple, aren’t they galloping already?

Via Yahoo Finance

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