Android smartphones accounted for 34 percent of all phone shipments in Q4 2012, while iOS handsets accounted for 11 percent, according to a new report by Canalys. The report found that smartphones now represent almost 50 percent of all phones shipped in Q4 2012. It has found that the total mobile phone market, at 438.1 million units, was flat year-on-year. That aside, the global smartphone market grew 37 percent.

Canalys found that Android smartphones accounted for 69 percent of the 216.5 million smartphones shipped. South Korean giant Samsung grew 78 percent, while the Chinese vendors Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Yulong all grew by triple-digit percentages. Interestingly, Android’s share fell sequentially from 74 percent as Apple’s share grew from 15 percent to 22 percent, gaining on the popularity of the iPhone 5. The shares of BlackBerry and Windows Phone remained unchanged sequentially at 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.


Global smartphone market grew 37 percent (Image credit: Getty Images)

The report found that Huawei took third place for the first time in Q4, and ZTE fourth. Positively for the companies, they managed to do well in their home markets and in the US, where ZTE was fourth and Huawei fifth, driven by their portfolios of low-cost LTE smart phones. Even so, both vendors took less than 5 percent share each.

“BlackBerry, Microsoft and Nokia, as well as other Android vendors, have strategies and devices in place to attack, but the task is daunting to say the least,” said Pete Cunningham, Principal Analyst. “When we look at the whole of 2012, Nokia remained the number three smartphone vendor, shipping 35 million units, but Apple in second place shipped 101 million more handsets. First-placed Samsung shipped 74 million more than Apple – the gaps are colossal. But there is still a big opportunity as smartphone penetration increases around the world. Vendors left in the wake of the top vendors must at the very least improve their portfolios, time-to-market and marketing, as well as communicate their differentiators. Microsoft, BlackBerry and other new OS entrants, such as Mozilla, must make the OS switch as simple as possible and drive and localise their respective app and content ecosystems.”

Sony lost out on the top five this quarter and Lenovo moved in. The company (Lenovo) emerged as one of the fastest-growing smartphone vendors, growing 216 percent year-on-year and shifting 9.5 million units to take fifth place. “China made up 98 percent of Lenovo’s shipments with a handful of emerging markets making up the rest. Its struggle to gain a foothold in markets outside of China means that it may be forced down the acquisition route—as it was with its PC business—hence the speculation about BlackBerry,” said Jessica Kwee, Analyst.

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