This is What the Smartphone Industry Has Become

Last month, we told you that Apple and Samsung accounted for 99 percent of profits in the mobile phone industry during the first quarter of the year.

If you had told the folks at Nokia or Research in Motion about that statistic five years ago, they would be baffled and probably give you a good chuckle.

Everyone has heard the expression that “what rises must fall,” so it is rather unsurprising that Nokia and RIM have fallen from their respective thrones atop the mobile phone industry.

A new chart by market research firm VisionMobile, to the right, truly reveals the difference between the smartphone industry today and just one year ago.

Apple and Samsung have strengthened their one-two lead in the industry with the iPhone and Android-powered smartphones respectively. Christian Zibreg for iDownloadBlog elaborates:

Different stats and market research all point to the same conclusion: that the mobile market is being reduced to a two-horse race between iOS and Android (or Apple and Samsung, specifically) as once great incumbents such as RIM and Nokia get pushed aside, their market shares seriously declining.

In fact, it’s fairly safe to say that on the fifth anniversary of iPhone, both RIM and Nokia are fighting for survival, quite possibly their lifecycle coming to an end. Meanwhile, only four companies are turning profit in the increasingly crowded smartphone space.

Apple, Samsung, Motorola and HTC are the only mobile phone vendors that are still turning a profit in 2012, while Nokia, Research in Motion, Sony Ericsson and LG have all fallen off the board in just a one year span. While the “what rises must fall” expression could inevitably hit Apple or Samsung, both consumer electronics makers have reached unprecedented levels of success and appear poised to continue along that path for several years to come.

While other handset makers such as Nokia or Motorola Mobility might continue to boast their number of mobile phones shipped, it is only profits that investors care about. Apple and Samsung might not have the highest market share — yet, anyways — but their profits are staggeringly higher than their competitors. And that’s why the smartphone industry has become what we see today.


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