Apple closing in on Nokia as world’s top smartphone vendor

Research firm IDC has published the results from its most recent survey on smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2011. There’s lots of interesting insights from the data, but most interesting of all is that Apple appears to be in the last leg of its runup to overtake Nokia as the world’s top smartphone vendor.
Currently Nokia sits in first place, controlling 24.3% of the smartphone market with 24.2 million phones sold. Apple holds the second spot holding 18.7% of the market with 18.7 million iPhones sold in the first quarter of 2011. That’s a difference of only 5.5 million units and is bad news for Nokia as Apple’s Q1 2011 iPhone sales grew 114% year over year, while Nokia’s smartphone sales only grew 12% in the same period. (The growth champion is Samsung, which shot up 350% year over year but started
Overall, the smartphone market grew almost 80% last quarter, with second place Apple and fourth and fifth place Samsung and HTC, respectively, leading most of the growth. From the numbers, it can be inferred that unless your smartphone is running iOS or Android, your potential growth faces severe limitations. As mentioned, first place vendor Nokia only grew 12% in units shipped, and third place vendor RIM grew 31%.