There’s no doubt that the smartphones are computers of today. We decided the time has come to do an update for the final numbers of computer sales in the whole 2011. The list is including all types of computing devices are included. The list includes all contemporary compute devices; we count traditional mainframes and servers, the PCs we know and love from desktops to laptops and netbooks and mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones, as well as that lingering PDA market. Bear in mind this is not a revenue or an employee list; it will only cover the shipped/sold devices as such.

However, we will exclude the basic ‘dumbphones’ nor gaming platforms or DVD players, TV’s as these devices are not considered to be true computers. This is the new normal, when all devices that are fairly considered computers – devices that users can reprogram, in other words, that the devices have their own OS and users can install apps.

By this definition – and please readers do remember that all major PC makers have already accepted – that we no longer have the separation in the world of compute devices. While analysts and media like to make the separations, smartphones are indeed computers. Thus, don’t bother to argue about that oldfashioned view that a smartphone would not be a proper computer.

Once that all the devices are combined, in 2011 the total computer market hit 950 million units. We expect this number to grow not just by mobile devices, but as Consumer Electronics devices become smarter (Smart TV), the compute market will expand by several hundred million units more.

From 646 million units in 2010 to 950M in 2011, the market grew a massive 47%. This growth was driven by huge growth in smartphones and tablets, as the legacy PC market was stagnant. The charge of mobile computers was further stipulated by the estimates of the 60 million unit tablet-market to pass 100 million during 2012. This will bring tablets to roughly one seventh the size of smartphones.

It splits up this way in the year 2011: 50% of all computers sold were smartphones, 37% traditional PCs (of which now majority are laptops – not desktops), 6% were tablets, 5% were PDAs, and 1% were servers. Obviously, four out of five compute devices sold today are portable. No wonder Apple calls itself a mobile company (this remedies Apple’s decision to shift from the legacy PC to the mobile market).

LARGEST COMPUTING DEVICE MAKERS

Rank (was) . . Brand . . . . . . Units 2011 . . . Market Share 2011

1 (1) . . . . . . . Apple . . . . . . 195.5 M . . . . . 21%

2 (8) . . . . . . . Samsung . . . 104.9 M . . . . . 11%

3 (2) . . . . . . . Nokia . . . . . . 77.3 M . . . . . . 8%

4 (3) . . . . . . . HP . . . . . . . . 64.5 M . . . . . . 7%

5 (4) . . . . . . . RIM . . . . . . . . 54.5 M . . . . . . 6%

6 (7) . . . . . . . Lenovo . . . . . . 49.9 M . . . . . . 5%

7 (6) . . . . . . . Dell . . . . . . . . 46.6 M . . . . . . 5%

8 (9) . . . . . . . HTC . . . . . . . . 44.6 M . . . . . . 5%

9 (5) . . . . . . . Acer . . . . . . . . 41.3 M . . . . . . 4%

10 (-) . . . . . . Sony . . . . . . . . 31.8 M . . . . . . 3%

. . . . . . . . . . Others . . . . . . 240.1 M . . . . . 25%

TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 950.0 M

Source: TomiAhonen Consulting from company and industry data, August 2012

This data and this table may be shared freely

Apple has grown its lead massively from last year when it took the number 1 position from Nokia. Samsung also marked the record growth, from 8th to 2nd place in rankings. Furthermore, for the first time the Top 3 are all by manufacturers whose primary product on this chart is… a smartphone. In fact every ‘traditional’ PC maker has fallen down in the rankings.

What to say about HP? Just tumbling down on the rankings? Hewlett-Packard was once clearly the biggest computer maker, but not anymore. Sadly, HP had the keys to the future too, when it bought Palm. However, with the new CEO carousel, the company lost track and we believe the company iwll continue to fall down by yet another notch or two. As a new service, lets also do a rough estimate of the market shares by operating system:

OPERATING SYSTEMS SHARE ON ALL COMPUTING DEVICES
Rank . . Brand . . . . . . Units 2011 . . . Market Share 2011
1 . . . . . Windows . . . . 291 M . . . . . . 31%
2 . . . . . Android . . . . . 218 M . . . . . . 23%
3 . . . . . iOS . . . . . . . . 196 M . . . . . . 21%
4 . . . . . Symbian . . . . . 81 M . . . . . . . 9%
5 . . . . . Blackberry . . . 55 M . . . . . . . 6%
. . . . . . Others . . . . . . 110 M . . . . . . 12%
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . 950 M
Source: TomiAhonen Consulting from company and industry data, August 2012
This data and this table may be shared freely

It is in the operating system segment where we can see a potential disaster that faces Microsoft, who once had over 90% of the computer market and 12% market share in smartphones. The company could have been well poised to survive this transition into the newest computing era if it had nurtured its broad coalition to provide Windows based smartphones (originally included Samsung, Sony, Motorola, LG, Dell, Lenovo etc – in 2011, added Nokia too).

On the smartphone side, Windows Phone is down to 3% market, caughting Microsoft stuck watching the diminishing share of the legacy computer market, while Android and iOS divvy-up the future markets of smartphones and tablets. According to our analysis, Windows Phone 8 will not help in smartphones, while the Windows 8 should be able to extend Microsoft’s life in that diminishing slice which is the traditional PC market. But it will be Android and iOS who rule smartphones and tablets, and next year, Windows Phone 8 will be happy to hit the 3% market share it held in smartphones. I have already said, that we will soon see Android outselling all Windows devices, the trend is unstoppable, inevitable.

As a conclusion, please don’t bother to comment if you still thinks ‘like a caveman’ that for some reason, the smartphone (or mobile devices as such) is ‘not a proper computer’. We had those arguments years ago, why waste time attempting to argue that a smartphone or a tablet is not a computer. We passed the point when each of the biggest PC makers, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Apple – have all said in public that yes, a smartphone (or a tablet) is a computer. Compute world changed and it is all about the convergence, with compute power being readily available pretty much everywhere.

Honestly, as the big computer makers have all already agreed that a smartphone is a computer, then why can’t we have some of the big analyst houses like Gartner, IDC etc who report on that data individually, give us also the comprehensive count for this whole industry? Isn’t it about time?

You may freely share this info and write about it and use the chart if you want. One plug, for those who are interested in deeper numbers on the handset industry, not just smartphones but also the ‘dumbphones’ parts, including market shares, operating systems, average prices, feature sets, installed bases etc etc etc, please look at the TomiAhonen Phone Book, the 2012 edition is almost ready, so the special offer to get two for one, is about to end, hurry to get your set now. See full table of contents and more info at TomiAhonen Phone Book 2012.