updated 07:55 am EDT, Tue October 26, 2010
Sony Ericsson X10 hits iPhone in Japan sales
Sony Ericsson Android-based phones like the Xperia X10 have had a rare impact on Apple's share of smartphones in Japan, the country's MM Research Institute said today. The iPhone still had a comfortable lead at 60 percent of all smartphones in the first half of 2010, but it fell a point from a year ago where Sony Ericsson rose to 21 percent. Sharp was a distant third with 6.3 percent while Toshiba and Taiwan's HTC were tied at 4.5 percent.
Smartphones as a whole more than doubled shipments over the past year, up to 11.7 percent. However, the country's historical preference for non-smartphone but very feature-heavy devices meant that Apple was in seventh place overall, behind Sony Ericsson's 7.4 percent and a mostly Japan-centric ranking led by Sharp (22.7 percent), Fujitsu (14.9 percent), Panasonic (13.6 percent), NEC (12.1 percent) and Kyocera (11.4 percent).
Sony Ericsson's rise is in sharp contrast to an overall worldwide drop and could likely be credited directly to the launch of the Xperia X10 on NTT DoCoMo early in the year. The release of a domestically-made Android phone was enough to trigger rare lineups for a smartphone that had previously only been seen with Apple.
The balance isn't likely to maintain itself through the second half of the year. Sony Ericsson's launches since the X10 have focused on lower-end phones. Apple in turn only had just a few days of iPhone 4 sales influencing the first half of the year and is known to have given Softbank the edge over larger carriers. Apple has cited Japan as one of the key countries behind its leap in sales numbers and is still facing shortages even with increased production. Possibilities also exist that Apple will bring a CDMA iPhone to KDDI, the second largest carrier, and consolidate its share. [via Bloomberg]
Overall phone share (larger companies): Sharp, Fujitsu, Panasonic, NEC, Kyocera, Sony Ericsson, Apple