Nokia and BlackBerry are top smartphone brands in MEA
Apple iPhone doesn't feature in top three list based on Gartner research
Nokia, BlackBerry and HTC are the leading smartphone brands in the Middle East and Africa based on analysis of 2010 first quarter sales by research firm Gartner.
Studies done by the firm see a 26% growth in smartphone sales in MEA in the first quarter of the year compared to 2009 figures. Nokia represents 87.6% of the MEA smartphone market share, while Research in Motion comes in second with a 4.3% share. Apple's popular iPhone only has a 2.6% market share after HTC (2.8%).
Combining both smartphones and traditional handset sales, the iPhone was ranked 7th worldwide with a 112.2% increase, representing Apple's strongest quarter yet.
"The second quarter of 2010 will be a very important one for Apple. We expect that Apple will present its new iPhone in June during its Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be the first to feature the latest release of the iPhone OS that includes welcome improvements for developers and users, such as multitasking," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Still, it isn't expected to catch up to Nokia's lead anytime soon. Nokia's mobile phone sales to end users reached 110.1 million units worldwide according to Gartner, which is close to research findings by IDC. But Google's Android platform is also making its presence felt - Android devices surpassed iPhone sales for the first time in the United States.
Regionally, Nokia could face a tougher time from the likes of Apple and Google Android-device manufacturers.
"Nokia will remain the undisputed leader in the region, they have such a strong brand value in emerging as well as mature markets. However, they will be challenged by the growth of RIM, Apple and Android-devices that will continue their rapid growth in this region," Zimmermann told itp.net.
"With the growing interest in smartphones and also other form factors such as Internet tablets and e-readers Nokia will have to make sure that their service strategy continues to build out, such as Nokia Comes with Music that is now available in many Middle Eastern countries and Ovi Maps," Zimmermann added.