With 37 million iPhones sold,
it's no suprise that Apple dominated the smartphone market during the fourth quarter, but for 2011 as a whole, Samsung managed to edge out Cupertino as the year's top smartphone manufacturer.
According to separate reports from Strategy Analytics and IHS Suppli, Samsung's Galaxy line of devices help push it past Apple's iPhone last year as the battle between Android and iOS continued.
Samsung shipped 95 million smartphones in 2011, an "explosive" increase of 278 percent from 25 million in 2010, iSuppli said.
"Samsung advanced in 2011 because of its strategy of offering a complete line of smartphone products, spanning a variety of price points, features and operating systems," Wayne Lam, a senior analyst of wireless communications at IHS, said in a statement. "This enabled Samsung to move past perennial market leader Nokia and to slightly exceed Apple's total for the year."
There were reports yesterday that Samsung would not be launching the Samsung Galaxy S III at next month's Mobile World Congress. When asked about that during an earnings call this morning, Samsung vice president Younghee Lee said "we are still reviewing several options [about] when to launch, so we'll let you know when it's decided," according to SammyHub.com
Apple still came in number two with 93 million smartphones shipped, thanks to the October releease of the iPhone 4S, up from 47 million in 2010.
But while Android-based Samsung devices thrived, similar devices from Motorola and Sony Ericsson did not fare as well.
"The relatively small growth of Sony Ericsson and Motorola may indicate that the Android smartphone market is becoming too crowded as the various licensees compete for limited consumer mindshare and shelf space," Lam said.
Strategy Analytics reached similar conclusions.
"While Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20 percent global share during 2011," Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement. "With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world's largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets."
Nokia, meanwhile, took a dive as it worked to produce the Windows Phone-based Lumias, which debuted at the end of 2011.
"Nokia's global smartphone market share halved from 33 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011," said Tom Kang, Strategy Analytics director. "A lackluster touch-screen smartphone portfolio and a limited presence in the huge United States market caused Nokia's shrinkage last year.
Nokia's partnership with Microsoft will be very much in focus during 2012, and the industry will be watching closely to see how swiftly the two companies can expand in the high-value 4G LTE market that is rapidly emerging across the United States, Japan and elsewhere."
Nokia said yesterday that it has sold more than 1 million Lumia devices
since their debut. The low-end Lumia 710
arrived in the U.S. earlier this month, while the high-end Lumia 900
is expected in the coming months.