Components shortages are impacting some cell phone manufacturers negatively, but bypassing others completely, according to an ABI Research survey of the handset market released Friday.
Even so, sales of handsets are generally surging with 346 million units sold in the third quarter. Year on year growth has been around 20%, the market research firm said.
"This is a remarkable feat, irrespective of the rebound effect following the deferred handset purchases during the economic recession," said Jake Saunders, ABI's VP for forecasting, in a statement. "Layer on 'smartphone-envy' and you have a recipe for high handset volumes."
Nokia, which has long dominated the volume of cell phone shipments, may be caught in a downdraft, because of its strength in the low-cost phones whose components are in the shortest supply. Nokia has reported shortages in AMOLED and semiconductor components for low-cost handsets. ABI said Nokia is likely to be components-constrained again in the fourth quarter.
On the other hand, smartphone sales are rocketing in an indication that components are still plentiful for those devices. ABI noted that RIM, Apple, HTC and Motorola don't seem to be negatively impacted by components shortages.
Handset makers which have their own captive components manufacturing operations like Samsung and LG are sitting pretty currently because they can take advantage of end user demand by supplying their own components.
One firm that famously hasn't been impacted by the components shortages is Apple. The company's iPhone sales -- particularly of its iPhone4 -- have climbed dramatically in recent weeks, obviously unencumbered by any components shortage.
IDC reported Thursday that the iPhone moved ahead of the RIM's BlackBerry into the fourth place overall during the last quarter. IDC reported that Apple shipped 14.1 million units in the quarter.
Nokia still dominated the volume numbers, but it still lags in the expensive smartphone category.