RIM, Apple Feast on Nokia

No. 1 smartphone maker Nokia is losing market share to Research In Motion, Apple and others while the product segment grows.
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Smartphones are the hottest game in tech town these days, and the leader,

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

, is losing steam.

Market share among the key smartphone players shifted dramatically last year, according to Gartners' fourth-quarter tally. The smartphone industry overall grew 3.7% in 2008.

The big winners in terms of percentage gains were

Samsung

,

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Research In Motion

(RIMM)

, up 138%, 112% and 85%, respectively, according to Gartner.

The only loser among the top five smartphone makers was Nokia, which suffered a 17% drop in market share, falling to 40.8% from 50.9% in the year-ago quarter.

Nokia's numbers are likely to slide until the second half of the year, when the Finnish phone firm delivers a new crop of smartphones.

Meanwhile, RIM has been seeing

strong demand

for its new Storm and older Curve devices. And

some see hope

for Motorola in its new

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

Android smartphones. There's also

swelling interest

in

Palm's

(PALM)

upcoming Pre phone. All these smartphones are expected to land this year.

Nokia investors shrugged off the nearly three-month-old smartphone performance data Wednesday. The stock was up 52 cents, or 5%, to $10.23 at mid-day.