Apple Becomes Top Smartphone Vendor For The First Time

In the rapidly growing smartphone market, where (almost) everyone’s a winner, Apple is currently the winningest of them all. According to research firm IDC, in the second quarter of 2011, Apple’s iPhone outsold all other brands for the first time.

Year-over-year, the smartphone market has shifted wildly and dramatically. Apple’s market share jumped from 13% to 19.1% to give it the top spot, but number-two Samsung actually grew by a far greater percentage, from 5.6% to 16.2%.

And for the first time since IDC started keeping track, Nokia fell--nay, plummeted--from the top of the heap to number three, losing more than half its market share (from 37.3% to 15.7%). Granted, Nokia is in the process of reinventing itself, dropping the long-tenured Symbian OS in favor of Windows Phone 7, so when that wave of devices running the newer OS eventually hits the market, the balance of power will likely shift once again.

Research In Motion (11.6%) and HTC (11%) round out the top five smartphone vendors, although it should be noted that the former lost some ground while the latter gained several percentage points of market share.

Top Worldwide Smartphone Vendors, Shipment Volumes (in millions), Market Share, & Year-Over-Year Growth, 2Q11 

The mobile phone market as a whole is experiencing tremendous growth that IDC predicts will continue unabated for the time being. In total, more than 100 million phones have shipped in three straight quarters, and year-over-year growth has reached 65.4%. In IDC’s estimation, 2011 will eventually see the smartphone market reach 55% growth over 2010.