The iPhone is emerging as the clear winner in the race for smartphone market domination as rivals Nokia and Blackberry are still struggling to take on Apple's flagship product.

Nokia and Blackberry, the two major competitors of iPhone, have seen their worst decline in history during the past 12 months.

Nokia's decline was evident in 2011, almost four years after the introduction of iPhone in 2007. iPhone smashed Nokia to the extent that it has lost $19 billion in market value in 2011.

Debt ratings of Nokia were cut last year by Standard & Poor's and Moody's on fears that a change in fortune would take longer time.

Though Nokia tried its Lumia series as a competitor to the iPhone, it failed to cut much ice with the customers.

Moreover, battery overheating and the subsequent product withdrawal had an adverse impact on customer confidence.

The Lumia handsets, which went on sale in Europe in November, probably sold 1.3 million units globally to operators and retailers by the end of 2011, according to the average estimate of 22 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

Given the stature of Nokia as a leading market player, the uncertainty surrounding the struggling handset maker's future is becoming more and more evident. Among analysts there is no consensus as to whether the company will succeed or fail with its bold and risky bet on the Microsoft Windows Phone platform.

Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, too has been struggling since late last year after sales took a beating against smart gains by iPhone.

Worldwide market share of RIM's products fell from 15.4 percent in the third quarter 2010 to 11 percent for the same period in 2011, according to a report in Sydney Morning Herald which quoted Gartner.

In the recent times, RIM was seen gradually getting out of its popular BBOS (BlackBerry Operating System) software, and started to focus on running its future phones and tablets on QNX software, after its acquisition.

On Sunday, Blackberry announced resignations of its joint chairmen and chief executives, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, as part of a shake-up. The fall of RIM's shares to an eight-year low has sparked speculations that the company is looking for a potential buyer.

Both Nokia and RIM were not able to entice the buyers with their new products in the highly competitive smartphone market. Though RIM launched its PlayBook tablet as a competitor to the iPad, it was devoid of its trademark email service which forced the company to sell it on huge discounts.

Meanwhile, Apple's iPad3 and iPhone5 remain to be the much-awaited product launches in the coming months. The California-based company recently announced its foray into the digital textbook market with its iBooks2 and iBooks Author.

Apple would be releasing its Q4 earnings results on January 24, 2012. The company is expected to report earnings of $10.07 a share on revenue of $38.76 billion, according to Reuters.