IDC Q1 Report Is In - RIM/BlackBerry In Top 5 of All Handset Makers in the World

Q! IDC Report
By Adam Zeis on 30 Apr 2010 09:58 am EDT

IDC has announced their Q! Mobile Phone Tracker report results, and Research In Motion is listed in the top 5 of all mobile handset makers in the world (not just smartphones). This is the first time that RIM has broken into the worldwide top 5, as their total shipments surpassed Motorola by nearly 2 million units. The Curve 8520 and Bold 9700 are the devices noted for bringing up RIM, and it is also noted that they are the only smartphone-only company in the top 5. During our WES 2010 podcast we discussed the goods and bads to come from the conference as well as RIM in general. Reading the comments it looks not everyone is happy with RIM at the moment,  but we do know that good things are coming down the road. There are some new devices and obviously BlackBerry 6, as well as MVS 5 and some other goodies in the near future. RIM is still going strong, so hopefully things will shine in the coming months. Hit the jump to check out the full IDC report.

Mobile Phone Recovery Continues with Nearly 22% Growth in First Quarter, According to IDC

29 Apr 2010

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. April 29, 2010 - The worldwide mobile phone market grew 21.7% in the first quarter of 2010 (1Q10), a strong rebound from the market contraction in Q1 2009. Growth was fuelled by increased demand for converged mobile devices, more commonly known as smartphones, and the global economic recovery. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped 294.9 million units in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 242.4 million units in the first quarter of 2009.

Converged mobile devices, which allow consumers and business people to trade wireless e-mails for example, have become increasingly popular as a wider and more powerful array of devices have become available. The device class and a recovering traditional mobile phone category helped the market avoid a repeat of 1Q09, when the market declined 16.6% in the midst of the global economic recession.

Growing demand for smartphones also helped Research In Motion (RIM) move into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time. RIM, which replaced Motorola in the top 5, tied Sony Ericsson for the number 4 position in IDC's 1Q10 vendor rankings. RIM shipped 10.6 million units in the first quarter while Motorola, which had been a top 5 vendor since the inception of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker in 2004, shipped 8.5 million units. Motorola, the number 2 overall vendor in 2004, registered a fifth place finish last year by virtue of its overall strength in the lower-growth traditional mobile phone category. Motorola has steadily lost share since 2004 when the market started its shift toward higher-end feature phones and smartphones. The ongoing shift has given rise to converged mobile device vendors such as RIM and Apple.

"The entrance of RIM into the top 5 underscores the sustained smartphone growth trend that is driving the global mobile phone market recovery," noted Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker. "This is also the first time a vendor has dropped out of the top 5 since the second quarter of 2005, when Sony Ericsson grabbed the number 5 spot from BenQ Siemens."

"That the mobile phone market has rebounded by double digits year over year in a post-holiday quarter is definitely good news for the industry," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "Whereas last year we saw much uncertainty around demand and overall reluctance to introduce new devices, vendors have been very vocal about their intentions this year, with some even launching new devices in the first quarter of 2010. In addition, the continued emphasis on converged mobile devices points to greater revenue generation and profitability opportunities for vendors, which is a welcome change compared to the same quarter a year ago."

Market Outlook

IDC believes the worldwide mobile phone market rebound will continue in 2010, though not at the same growth rate as the first quarter. "It should be noted that the market's first-quarter growth, while impressive, is relative to one of the worst quarters in mobile phone industry history (1Q09)," noted Restivo. "The market's growth should not be taken as a proxy for future quarters nor annual growth. In fact, the results essentially match our first quarter projections. We are still expecting growth of 11% for 2010."

Regional Analysis

* The Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region started the year off with a strong quarter driven mainly by Greater China. Overall, a wider array of low-cost smartphones available across the countries is driving penetration. Touchscreen-enabled devices remained a hot segment of the market, helping to drive the demand for converged mobile devices across the region.

* The Western European mobile phone market continued its rebound from the recession last quarter. The region's growth was driven by strong smartphone shipments compared to a year ago. New high-end devices were launched while inventories were cleared from the previous quarter. This paved the way for smartphone growth in the first quarter at the expense of the traditional phone category. Nonetheless, touchscreen feature phones and low-end devices, particularly from the Korean manufacturers, sold well in the first quarter.

* As expected, the United States mobile phone market declined sequentially. User interest, however, remained high for smartphones thanks to the rollout of Google's Nexus One and new devices from Motorola. Meanwhile, feature phone shipment volumes, which have declined steadily in previous quarters, were buoyed by sustained interest in quick messaging devices.

* In Canada, the first quarter was similar to that of the U.S. as significant Android phones, namely the Motorola Milestone and Samsung's Galaxy Spica, were introduced. There was also a continued emphasis by suppliers on quick messaging devices in the traditional mobile phone category.

* The Latin American mobile phone market also rebounded in the first quarter due to higher demand from partners for feature phones and converged devices. Country currencies have stabilized as well, helping boost consumer spending on phones. Manufacturers and operators included social networking features in more phones sold in Latin America. Vendors are also planning for regional growth with the creation of local assembly plants.

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors

Nokia started the year with a strong first-quarter unit shipment performance, driven by its top-selling 5130 and 2700 models. Shipments of 107.8 million in 1Q10 represented a nearly 16% improvement over the same quarter last year. The overall figures, however, fell short of the first-quarter high it set in 2008. Converged mobile device shipments increased sharply on a year-over-year basis due to top-selling models such as the 5230, 5800, 5530, and X6. However, average selling prices for converged mobile devices dropped to €155 in 1Q10, compared to €186 in the previous quarter. Nokia plans to ship the N8 (the first converged device to run the Symbian 3 operating system) in the third quarter. The N8 will cost €370, according to Nokia, and is expected to boost Nokia's overall ASP.

Samsung held steady as the number two vendor worldwide for the twelfth consecutive quarter with total shipment volumes greater than those of the next three vendors combined. Driving its results was a combination of new devices launched and expansion of distribution channels within emerging markets. Moreover, efforts to bring high end devices, including touchscreen phones and converged mobile devices, pushed ASPs higher. Samsung plans to launch more Android and bada-powered devices later this year while launching more touch-enabled devices for the mass-market.

LG Electronics remained the number three vendor worldwide with year-over-year shipment growth of nearly 20%, but declining revenue and profit due to seasonality and reduced prices. The abundance of feature phones at varying price points kept the company in good stead with carriers and customers, particularly within emerging markets where LG reaped triple digit growth. Still, the lack of a broad and deep smartphone portfolio made it vulnerable to competitor share gains, particularly within North America. LG plans to introduce several Android, Windows Mobile 6.5, and Windows Phone 7 devices later this year while expanding its global platform to reach new markets.

Research In Motion makes its first appearance among the top five vendors worldwide, with total shipments surpassing those of Motorola by nearly 2 million units. Research In Motion is the only vendor in the top 5 with a singular focus on smartphones, and as a result, the company enjoys the highest average selling prices within that group. Key to its success in the first quarter was the popularity of its BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Bold 9700 across multiple markets as well as its global prepaid offerings. Strong consumer adoption, particularly among text-crazy teens, has also fuelled demand for BlackBerry devices.

Sony Ericsson returned to profitability in the first quarter due to cost cutting and new product introductions. The joint venture launched six new handsets including three new Greenheart models - Aspen, Elm, and Hazel - as well as the Xperia X10 and Vivaz converged devices. Average selling prices rose 12% as Sony Ericsson pruned several less-profitable products from its lineup. However, overall shipments in the first quarter fell 28%. Three new converged devices - the Vivaz pro, Xperia X10 mini, and Xperia X10 mini pro - will ship towards end of the second quarter.

Topics: IDC News & Rumors

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

IDC Q1 Report Is In - RIM/BlackBerry In Top 5 of All Handset Makers in the World


This is "world wide" people... In the US market RIM has not passed Apple, so I love how the truth gets bend just a little to make RIM look good. lol Considering Apple just went public in Euro not too long ago, this is no surprise really.

I think RIM should be concerned less with market penetration via cheap handsets and more about quality of hardware/software if you ask me. That's where they fail big time.

This list should tell people a lot considering who's on there. Nokia, Sony, Samsung etc... Seriously? All this means is that a lot of people by cheap devices. I can go get 5 blackberries from Verizon right now without paying for any of them. In the US, iPhone is king on 1 carrier while only releasing 1 device per year in less than 3 years.

Please back up your data about sales in the US and tell us where iPhone beat BlackBerry in US sales.

According to what I read, BlackBerry was the best selling smartphone brand in the US for calendar year 2009. Furthermore, here's the latest data I have about US sales per device according to the IDC Mobile Devices and Technology Division. Please provide your source.

All data provided from the IDC Mobile Devices and Technology Division.

1. RIM – BlackBerry Curve
2. Apple – iPhone 3G S
3. Motorola – DROID
4. Apple – iPhone 3G
5. RIM – BlackBerry Pearl
6. RIM – BlackBerry Bold
7. RIM – BlackBerry Storm
8. Palm – Pre
9. RIM – BlackBerry Tour
10. T-Mobile – myTouch 3G

Im the first for once ...damn right we are in the the top five and when we get the new updates like blackberry 6 we should be better again ...

if Rimm pulls up its socks and gets off its ass for a change ....

no apple either lol lol lol lol ...wheres the trolls now ...

RIMM has proven over the years that they can build good quality phones. I feel what RIMM needs to do now is convince more developers to create more Apps for the BlackBerry. From what I'm hearing from people who went to Andriod is the number and type of apps available to them.

I love my BlackBerry and will continue to have one and continue to upgrade to another one because let's face, my BlackBerry does everything I could want my smartphone to do plus so much more :-)

Perhaps not on Crackberry, but on most web sites, the iPhone browser is the only smartphone browser in the top 10 browsers seen by the site.

So, in the "What should RIM do" category, bigger screens and better browsers is my top pick.


Ahh its practically a tradition that every time some good stuff happens for RIM people say that they don't count because of whatever.

If the iPhone browser is the only smartphone browser seen on site traffic lists, how comes that there were five blackberries on the top ten 'which smartphones are accessing the internet' list ? And that the curve was ahead of the iPhone ?

I would hazard a guess that the reason you see iPhones higher up the traffic lists because a) theres a butt load of iPhones, and b)they are time waster devices.

Like the guys said on the last podcast, blackberries aren't time waster devices, so people use them to access websites when they need to for whatever... Work stuff, blog maybe, read a few sites. But not casually surfing, because that's just not how people use their blackberries. So people sit around and flit from site to sit generating hits and distorting the statistics.

Like I keep saying to these things, blackberries have a very specific user style, and since a BIG percentage of blackberry users are enterprise users and wouldn't think to browse with their phone (ie they have a berry because their work gave it to them not because they want it) or don't want to use them for personal stuff... Yeah, it makes sense that despite there being an equivilant number of blackberries to iPhones, but surprise surprise, they aren't used the same way.

And that'd be because people who want the iPhone experience don't buy a blackberry to get it.

So you're saying that RIM's browser is purposely horrendous so people don't "waste time" using it. LOL! I don't know about you but I consider constant battery pulls as wasting time. And how do you explain that pathetically hysterical OS6 video they produced which looks exactly like RIM is trying to imitate the iPhone and all the "time wasting" things you can do with it.

We finally got a LOL from and iPhone user. You knew they'd find some way to get it in there.

But Let's face it we are all laughing at apple with this one.

You can see them now looking nervously from side to side pushing the sand with their feet. hahahahahaha!

What's with all the animosity against apple? Oh, and I doubt they are at all nervous... " Back in the U.S., Apple, which sold 8.75 million iPhones, secured the title of the number one U.S. handset maker by beating Motorola’s 8.5 million phones. " - BoyGeniusReport.

RIM sold 10.6 million worldwide which allowed them to "narrowly beat out fifth place Sony".... "BACK IN THE US, Apple, which sold 8.75 million iPhones, SECURED THE TITLE OF NUMBER ONE US HANDSET MAKER...."

Get it now? RIM sold 10.6 worldwide. Apple sold 8.75 in one country.

I think you misread the article too. The 8.75M is Apple's sales worldwide. See this link:

short link:

"Apple said it sold 8.75 million iPhones for the quarter ... Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook credited much of the increase to strong sales in international markets -- in Asian markets in particular."

Note the mention of international markets. Those are worldwide numbers for Apple. Apple is the "number one U.S. handset maker" because RIM is NOT a "U.S. handset maker": it is Canadian. RIM's worldwide sales at 10.6M still beats Apple's 8.75M.

I have a BB and a Iphone, so I am straddling the fence on these comments. In all honesty BB has so many different models shouldnt they be in this list??? Apple has one phone compared to BB's 10.......

Thought Apple had 2 or 3 phones now?

Anyway, you're point does still make sense.

I'll stick with my BB though :)

RIM has tens of models out there which cost money. Apple has one model (except the fact that it has different memory inside). Apple has the most interesting economic model out there in handheld industry. Few models, contents sales, etc. I'm sure RIM and all the other companies will die to be in Apple's position today.

Thats great RIM, now only if you could make a touchscreen phone that works when you need it most, that would be great.

I think if RIM continues to make good phones they will stay in good graces but like the statement said alot of revenue is from text crazy teenagers with this point i think RIM needs to step up and deliver a more consumer based product i mean there set up good right now from the buisness/enterprise point of view,So give us consumers what we want a fun phone that will keep us wanting more!! (oh yea where can i get that crackberry theme from the pic above thanx...)

Umm ok so we are all waiting for you guys to say

"too late! ... I'm going to get my driod incredible! by by blackberry"

Oh wait, you are there you're just buried by all the users rushing to buy blackberries. LOL!

I am a real estate agent. My phone is everything. With it I rock. I text, I email, just 'bout everything. My BlackBerry Storm gives me an edge over other agents who have 'just a phone'. The screen on the Storm gives me a large canvas to store and show houses, contracts and really anything. And my clients LOOK to see what kind of phone I use. They will say Why not an Iphone, and I tell them BlackBerry phones are for serious business people, Iphones are very pricey fragile TOYS.

Strong consumer adoption, particularly among text-crazy teens

Well, can't I be a text-crazy 30 year old??

I'm surprised because this is RIMs first appearance in the top 5, I thought they were already there. If you expected Apple to be in this list, you weren't being realistic. Apple does not have a global presence and limits itself even more by not having a WCDMA/CDMA version of the iPhone. Also, the price of an unlocked iPhone makes it's chances even worse.

One thing that was upsetting was the part about RIMs offering of "global prepaid" no prepaid BBs here in Canada you bastards...

I spend a lot of time at airports and terminal bus. And I would say I see about 7 out of 10 people have Blackberries. Either world wide or in the US, I do a lot of traveling and I see Blackberry way more then iPhone or any other smart phones.

But on the other hand, RIM has BES which is probably one of the few reasons people are using Blackberry.

That's fine. Here is what it asserted:

"Apple has become the largest U.S. maker of cell phones. In the first quarter of 2010, Apple sold 8.8 million iPhones..."

Apple is the largest *US* maker of cellphones. RIM is a *Canadian* maker, and sold 10.6M.

Guess what? With sales figures like these, RIM is not going to be making any drastic changes in the near future.

Stop whining and complaining. They are not going to change for you.

Accept BlackBerry as it is and make the best of it, or move on to another device/platform that better suits your needs.


ahhh the classic we beat the iPhone picture. I think Blackberry users make the iPhone a rival all on their own. I'm sure Steve Jobs isn't worried about being in the Top 5 handset makers in the world since they make one smartphone just a thought...that is all

I mean common RIM makes 10,000 "different" handsets and practically give em away in the US. With the dirt cheap 8520 hitting the markets outside the US and becoming an extremely popular this is not surprise. Apple on the otherhand are whipping them in the US consumer market. I don't even own an Apple product and this is pretty obvious to me.

I usually don’t comment on this BS, but I'm so sick of iPhone & Blackberry people. For everyone on here that doesn’t have a blackberry or had one get the "F" of this site. You don’t belong here starting all this drama between these two companies, grow up. This site is called Crackberry not iPhoneism. I've had a blackberry since tet68 several different models; I've had my iPhone for about a year now. I can say that I love both devices for they do different things. One phone is not better than the other, I will keep both phones for a long time to come.

Blackberry Pros
-email (for work and play)
-calendar (I’m always ahead of the game)
-messenger (no other company has an exclusive messenger, not to my knowledge)
-contacts (I like that I can put them into groups)
-texting (fast and easy)
-ascendo money (budgeting is high priority for my job and personally)
-phone (conference calls, hold calls, swap and resume etc.)
-memo pad (just like taking notes)
-password keeper (this is to awesome)
-task (I’ll never forget again)
-qwerty keyboard
-takes a licking and keeps on ticking (I have dropped everyone of my blackberry’s)
-expandable memory (2gb, 4gb, 8gb, 16gb, and now they have 32 insane)
-battery life (3 days strong)

Blackberry Cons
-camera (blurry)
-battery pulls (such a pain, and all the apps reset to default)
-processor (slow as hell)
-on board memory (not enough)
-battery door (always coming off)
-updating OS (redundant)
-Bluetooth (is there an ear bug that will sound good, not like I’m in a tunnel)
-wi-fi (if I’m lucky to get a signal)
-apps suck (and are pricey)

iPhone pros
-of course the web
-apps galore (and there cheap)
-camera (best camera I’ve seen on a phone period)
-music (syncs with my car, and I take it to the gym)
-movies/video (I love this for those long plane rides)
-kindle (when I’m waiting, Dr. Office, lines at store, etc)
-Google maps
-calculator (especially landscape view)
-html email
-0 to zoom in .1 second
-voicemail (this is to cool. I hate listening to all those irrelevant voicemails)

iPhone Cons
-flimsy (I will never take this thing out of my Otter box for fear it will break)
-ring tone volume (it’s better on vibrate, at least I’ll know when someone’s calling)
-No expandable memory (that’s just stupid)
-battery life is horrible (18hrs if I’m lucky)
-calendar (what a joke, I mean come on are you serious)
-ear volume (good thing this is my personal phone)
-typing (the touch screen is a nuisances, so many misspellings. I hate typing on this)

If you haven’t figured out by now my Blackberry is for work, and my iPhone is personal. I will say this as a general manager of a regional company I have never I mean never seen an iPhone in any meeting that I’ve been in, and for the record I paid more for my Blackberry 9700 ($299) than for my iPhone 16 GB 3GS ($199) both with at&t. The company I work for lets us pick out our own phone (blackberry that is) and they reimburse us.

In closing, it’s not that serious. I doubt seriously that the majority of the people on here are shareholders in either company, so stop the bickering in an argument that none of us will benefit from these companies. The only way that we benefit is the device itself, it’s your choice what you want as a person. That’s why we are all made different, if there was only one phone company it would be boring as hell out here. The owners of these companies are mega millionaires if not billionaires. Trust me they don’t give a sh!t what we think, believe me. They will continue to have their money long after we are gone from this earth, left to their kids and they will leave to their kids. While our kids will be paying off our student loans, and other bills that we know we can’t pay off without having 10 jobs.

Just My Two Cents

PS. The President of the United States of America did not fight to keep an iPhone, and congrats to Kyle Bush (NASCAR).