Apple to pass Nokia in smartphone share by 2013

Apple’s share of the smarphone market is growing quickly enough that it could overtake Nokia’s in as little as four years, according to data from Generator Research. The analyst group sees the market almost reversing itself from its situation today and believes Nokia will tumble from about 40 percent share today to just 20 percent in 2013. iPhones, meanwhile, should accelerate and hit 33 percent of the market at the same point. Apple would match Nokia’s share sometime in 2011 and ship as many as 77 million phones that year.

Generator sees Apple as entering a “golden age” of fast growth both because of the combination of the iPhone and the App Store, with one driving sales of the other. It also has the benefit of selling both to smartphone users as well as to existing iPod owners. A crossover device appealing to high end media phone users, such as the $99 iPhone 3G, should also give the company a boost.

Nokia, in turn, is seen as a victim of its own emphasis on low-cost phones. As it makes most of its current money selling budget devices in developing countries where there’s still room to sell phones in that category, the company doesn’t have an actual financial stake in keeping smartphones at the top. The Finnish giant is likely to try and defend its territory but may be only half-hearted in funding its efforts as the smartphone business won’t be where Nokia makes its true profits.

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