Nokia, the leading market share vendor for dual-mode Wi-Fi handsets, has seen its market lead slip significantly over the past year, reports In-Stathttp://www.in-stat.com. In 2Q08, Nokia had over 50% market share. This has dropped well over 10 share points as of 2Q09. Over that same time period, Apple has significantly increased market share, as did RIM.
Wi-Fi handset shipments have increased significantly over the past several years. From 2007 to 2008, shipments increased by over 50%. This growth is a result from increased phone functionality, falling price points, and carrier promotion.
“While the enterprise was the original smartphone/Wi-Fi handset market, Apple’s iPhone has propelled consumer adoption,” says Victoria Fodale, In-Stat analyst. “Wi-Fi’s popularity as a compatible cellular technology is tied to its ability to improve the user experience and also help maintain the quality of the cellular network. A Wi-Fi-enabled cell phone allows for free access to data, and it improves performance.”
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
- Wi-Fi/cellular handsets are driving hotspot usage. For example, AT&T recently announced that sixty percent of all AT&T Wi-Fi connections in the third quarter of 2009 were made from smart phones and other integrated devices, up from 49 percent in the second quarter.
- The potential for voice over Wi-Fi is gaining popularity, as cellular/Wi-Fi phones become more pervasive and consumer familiarity with VoIP increases.
- The Wi-Fi attach rate (percent of handsets with embedded Wi-Fi) will more than double over the next two years.
- There were 121 models of cellular/Wi-Fi handsets introduced in the first half of 2009, almost as many as were introduced in all of 2008.