So its time to do the annual count of the biggest computer makers, when we include smartphones..
I was the first to do this count back in 2008 and done it since. Back then it was almost heresy to suggest that a smartphone was a 'real' computer - but since then all of the 5 biggest classic PC makers - Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo - all - have agreed that a smartphone is a full computer, and should be counted as one. So here we go. We did the count again last year and Nokia was on top. This year we see the return of the first rebel computer maker to shake up the classic order - Apple - return to the top. What most readers of this blog are too young to remember, that in the days of the Apple 2, that is an Apple PC way before the Macintosh PC - at one point Apple became the world's biggest computer maker by number of computers sold in the year. Then it soon lost its lead when the IBM PC and its clones came using the Microsoft DOS (and later Windows) operating system. So this moment must be particularly sweet for old-timer Apple employees and fans of the brand. Apple is back on top!
Here is the list for the full year 2010, this time I am able to give the full top 10 (last year was only able to do Top 8). So the biggest computer makers in the world, when we include classic mainframes, desktop and laptop PCs and servers, and newer smaller comptuers, the netbooks, tablet PCs like the iPad, and the smartphones (and the other pocket PCs like the iPod Touch). The number in parenthesis is last year's ranking.
1. Apple (3). . . . . . . . . . 108.9 Million . . . . .17%
2. Nokia (1) . . . . . . . . . .100.3 Million . . . . .16%
3. HP (2) . . . . . . . . . . . 67.5 Million . . . . 10%
4. RIM (6) . . . . . . . . . . . 47.0 Million . . . . . 7%
5. Acer (4) . . . . . . . . . . . 43.8 Million . . . . . 7%
6. Dell (5) . . . . . . . . . . . 42.7 Million . . . . . 7%
7. Lenovo (8) . . . . . . . . . 36.2 Million . . . . . 6%
8 . Samsung (-) . . . . . . . . 26.0 Million . . . . . 4%
9. HTC (-) . . . . . . . . . . . 25.0 Million . . . . . 4%
10. Toshiba (7) . . . . . . . .. 22.1 Million . . . . . 3%
Rest of Computer Makers 126 Million
Total Computers Made . . . 646 Million
Thats the story. Congratulations Apple! Returning back to the top.
A few clarifications for those curious. Obviously no other source (as far as I know, so far) reports on this chart. I've done it for a couple of years now. The numbers I used were public data on the PC sales for the year, the smartphones sales for the year, and the iPad sales for Apple. For the iPod Touch, because Apple doesn't report that number separate from other iPods, I used the formula of 2/3 the size of iPhone sales, which is generally accepted and seems to conform well with other reported data. So I had 31 Million iPod Touch devices for Apple in 2010. Note that I did my best to add PC and tablet sales for Samsung (which is why its ahead of HTC) and added the smartphone sales for HP, Lenovo etc as my best estimate.
There is one 'fudge factor'. This year the race between Acer and Dell is very tight, some like IDC reported Dell ahead of Acer, while others like Gartner reported Acer ahead of Dell. So I did my best and used the average of the numbers I found. But for the others, the differences are very clear, so the rankings for all others is solid. For example the difference between number 2 Nokia and number 1 Apple was so great, that even if iPod Touch devices sold only half the levels of the iPhone, Apple would still have been on top.
And for those who argue that a smartphone is 'not a proper computer' - please don't bother to argue that point here anymore. It is no longer worth arguing, if HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba - the 5 biggest PC makers - all agree that smartphones are computers. I am happy to have comments here, but those postings that try to argue that smarthpones are not computers, they will be mercilessly removed. That train has left the station and I won't bother to reply to those. If the big computer makers think so - go argue with them haha, not me here. I only report the numbers for you.
And talking of numbers, if you needed the numbers for the whole mobile industry, then 189 pages and 94 tables and charts for only 9.99 Euros is a tremendous value. All the data on the subscribers, revenues, services, traffic, handsets, features, apps, operating systems, minutes, messages, advertising etc are in the brand new TomiAhonen Almanac 2011. See here for the full table of contents and ordering info.