Nokia is probably feeling the heat more than ever with not only the global financial crisis taking a toll on its earnings, but more so, the successful attempts of Apple and RIM eating away at their market share.

In the last quarter of 2008, RIM managed to improve on their performance from just 10.9% market share to 19.5%. Apple likewise enjoyed growth from 5.2% at 10.7%. Nokia, meanwhile, fell from 50.9% to just 40.8% with their smartphone sales plunging by 17%. Obviously, while Nokia still enjoys being in the top spot, the continued improvement of both Apple and RIM has come at their expense.

Other performers in the market who also had a good showing in Q4 of 2008 include HTC whose sales grew from 3.7% to 4.3% and the runner-up to Nokia, Samsung, which had 4.2% market share up from 1.8% a year earlier.

2009 will undoubtedly be a tough year for Nokia to maintain their #1 ranking, but as long as they continue to provide handsets for all sectors of the market, we believe that they're lead will remain safe as far as 2009 is concerned.