I’m calling it now.  If Apple continues to grow like it has (and maybe accelerates growth with a low cost iPhone and CDMA), it will produce the kind of numbers that will topple Nokia in the second half of 2011.

Apple’s iPhone product releases generally happen at the end of the second quarter but the majority of product refreshers will be taking delivery in the third quarter.  The pent up demand and new carrier options in the US (and abroad) will allow Apple to continue grow its market share significantly.

Nokia will be lucky to stay flat:

Meanwhile, Nokia’s platform refresh will see it stagnate until it can begin selling WP7 devices.  Low-end Android devices from LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Acer,  Huawei and others will also eat into Nokia’s share throughout 2011.

Nokia’s prospects for 2011 can’t be good.  You don’t throw your company at Microsoft because your channel inventory checks look solid.  It is hard to imagine significant demand for Symbian phone in 2011.  Even their CEO has said their current product is substandard.  It is hard to imagine any growth at Nokia until WP7 hits (and even then it will be new/unproven).

IDC’s numbers for the most recent quarter are:

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q4 2010 (Units in Millions)

Vendor 4Q10 Units Shipped 4Q10 Market Share 4Q09 Units Shipped 4Q09 Market Share Year-over-year growth
Nokia 28.3 28.0% 20.8 38.6% 36.1%
Apple 16.2 16.1% 8.7 16.1% 86.2%
Research In Motion 14.6 14.5% 10.7 19.9% 36.4%
Samsung 9.7 9.6% 1.8 3.3% 438.9%
HTC 8.6 8.5% 2.4 4.5% 258.3%
Others 23.5 23.3% 9.5 17.6% 147.4%
Total 100.9 100.0% 53.9 100.0% 87.2%

Have a look at some graphs over at Asymco to get a better feel of the market direction.

Let’s assume that Nokia’s numbers stay flat at 28 million/quarter across 2011 (which I think is optimistic considering their implosion — unless they give them away free).  Let’s also assume that Apple’s shipments only continue at their current pace (very pessimistic if you consider the impact of CDMA iPhones, China and the possibility of a $200 iPhone).

If Apple grows 86% again in 2011, they will be at over 30 million iPhones/quarter by Q4 next year.

We’re well aware that Apple numbers are artificially large in Q3 because of the new device launches in the summer. I think that will mark the inflection point.

If Nokia-Microsoft can can even get devices together by Q3 (they haven’t even finalized their ‘merger’ contracts), they will be few, new to the market and untested.  Build cycles on totally new electronics are often almost a year (how long did it take the industry to copy the iPad?) so even Q3 I think is optimistic.

As for Blackberry, they just aren’t growing fast enough and there is nothing in their pipeline that says to me they are going to be growing faster than Apple in 2011.  While HTC and especially Samsung are growing by leaps and bounds, they won’t be able to catch Apple by the middle of the year.

So this is just a guess, what do you think?  Is my logic flawed anywhere?

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