ABI Research recently published the results of their survey of the smartphone market in Q1 2012, and found that Samsung and Apple together claim a little more than half the market share and 90% of the profits. Global smartphone shipments grew a healthy 41% since last year, though Sony and Samsung were the only ones to see growth quarter-over-quarter. Nokia's decline is so fast that even RIM will soon surpass them in shipments. Analyst Michael Morgan puts Nokia's situation into stark terms: "At this point in the year, Nokia will have to grow its Windows Phone business 5000% in 2012 just to offset its declines in Symbian shipments."
Apple's profitability is already well-known, and graphs like these can give you an idea of just how much of that 90% belongs to Apple versus Samsung. Generally speaking, Apple's grip on the smartphone market is tallied up on an operating system basis, but it's good to see a more appropriate comparison being made directly between manufacturers.
With Samsung effectively representing the Android camp, and Apple iOS, how much room is there for a third player in the smartphone scene? Obviously Nokia has a long ways to go to push Windows Phone into the mainstream, but Microsoft is in this for the long haul and will be able to support the platform better than HP did for webOS. There's still a glimmer of hope for RIM to snag that number three spot if the fall launch of BlackBerry 10 pans out, but they've only been losing historical footholds as time goes on. For now, it's a two-horse race.