HTC loses spot as No. 4 smart phone maker to Samsung


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan smart phone maker HTC Corp. fell to fifth in global smart phone market share in 2010, beaten out of the fourth spot by South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and its popular Galaxy S models, an analyst said yesterday. Although HTC’s smart phone shipments increased 165.4 percent to 21.5 million units in 2010, the Taiwan-based company still dropped to fifth among smart phone vendors with a 7.1 percent market share. That trailed Nokia Corp.’s 33.1 percent, Research In Motion’s 16.1 percent, Apple Inc.’s 15.7 percent and Samsung’s 7.6 percent, Joey Yen, a senior analyst with market tracker International Data Corp. (IDC), told the Central News Agency by telephone.

Samsung saw shipments rise 318.2 percent in 2010 — the biggest year-on-year jump of any of the top five vendors — to 23 million smart phones, enabling it to vault past HTC.

“Samsung’s good relationship with worldwide distributors and telecom operators has helped boost its sales of the Galaxy S series smart phones, while HTC continued to stress the European and the North American markets,” Yen said.

She expected the close competition between the two companies to continue in the short term, with both expected to launch more Android-based smart phones this year.

Yen said content and software applications would become key factors for success for smart phone vendors because the gap in hardware manufacturing has been narrowed, and HTC has been moving in that direction.

Earlier this week, HTC announced the acquisition of London-based digital content provider Saffron Digital and U.S.-based on-demand gaming service provider OnLive Inc., investing 30 million British pounds and US$40 million, respectively, to strengthen its content.

Worldwide smart phone shipments reached a record high of 100.9 million units in the fourth quarter of last year, up 87.2 percent from the 53.9 million units shipping in final three months of 2009, according to IDC.

For the whole of 2010, 302.6 million smart phones were shipped, 74.4 percent more than the 173.5 million units sold in 2009, IDC said.