Apple becomes No. 4 cell phone maker in the world; Google preps for war with Nexus Two

Oct 29, 2010
Finance

After selling 14.1 million units and pulling down $20 billion in revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, Apple (AAPL) has surged past Sony Ericcson (SNE) and RIM (RIMM) to become the number four cell phone maker globally, according to a market research firm. Apple captured 4.3 percent of the global cell phone market […]

After selling 14.1 million units and pulling down $20 billion in revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009, Apple (AAPL) has surged past Sony Ericcson (SNE) and RIM (RIMM) to become the number four cell phone maker globally, according to a market research firm.

Apple captured 4.3 percent of the global cell phone market with those 14 million iPhones, doubling the roughly two percent market share it held last year. That’s a pretty big deal, considering Apple makes only one kind of phone – and being a smart phone, it’s already pretty high-end and expensive. Still, the iPhone must resonate with customers, because they keep coming back.

All hail the Nexus Two

Meanwhile, Gizmodo is reporting that Google (GOOG) is preparing another Nexus phone. The Nexus Two is being built by Samsung (005930.KS), according to the report, and the phone looks and handles a lot like Samsung’s Galaxy S, but features a forward-facing camera.

Apparently this new Nexus isn’t as big a step forward as the Nexus One was – it seems Google’s flagship phone ranks right around the Android phones of other manufacturers – and includes a shiny black plastic housing and a slightly concave AMOLED 4-inch screen.

Google had a tough time selling the Nexus One, making it available mostly on the Internet, where customers couldn’t actually handle the phone before buying it. That turned out to be a big problem for most people, and Google cut the Nexus One after supplying it to whatever first-adopters had been interested in taking a gamble on a phone they couldn’t physically touch until after purchase.

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With the Nexus Two, things should be better. Apple’s wild iPhone success should provide Google with a decent model to go off of – get your phone into lots of stores and start partnering with providers – and Android phones have been making an impression with consumers, at least in theory.

CDMA iPhone also on the cards?

But if Apple really is getting ready to unleash a CDMA iPhone, and it seems like it is, Google is going to have its work cut out. Opening iPhone up to more carriers could find the device blowing up even more, as customers get more options that may have otherwise made them think twice. Google’s going to need some great ammunition to fire back if it wants to try and claim a chunk of the market comparable to Apple’s.

Maybe we’ll be seeing Nexus Two head-to-head with the Verizon (VZ) iPhone 4 next year? That could lead a lot of new customers to smart phones – and create a lot more creativity and improvement for these two companies and their products.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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