100 million smartphones ship in Q1

A healthy 100 million smartphones were shipped in the first quarter of 2011, according to the latest research. That represents a 0.5% reduction over the fourth quarter 2010 shipments, and a 75% gain over the first quarter 2010, said ABI Research.

In comparison, the overall handset market is estimated to be 380 million devices, or a 2.5% reduction from the fourth quarter of 2010 levels.

“Although seasonality is often cited as the cause of the shrinkage, Nokia’s 15% sequential decline acted as a drag on Q1’s anemic market growth,” said senior analyst at ABI, Michael Morgan.

Nokia’s smartphone market share dropped to 25% in the first quarter, down from 40% in the first quarter of 2010. While Nokia remains positive about its strategic shift to the Windows Phone 7 platform, ABI Research believes its losses will accelerate through 2011.

Apple has benefited from an extra 2.2 million Verizon iPhones and strong performance during the Asia-Pacific holiday season with a 15% sequential gain in shipments. Samsung smartphones also performed well in the first quarter, showing 16% sequential gain, which lifted it to 13% of total smartphone shipments. The increased shipments from Samsung and Apple roughly equalled the drop in shipments from Nokia.