Industry analyst Canalys this week revealed its fourth quarter 2012 estimates for mobile phone shipments. Unsurprisingly, it estimates that the worldwide smartphone market grew 37% from the fourth quarter of 2011. Smartphones, according to Canalys made up almost half of the mobile phone shipments in the fourth quarter 2012.
Android handsets accounted for over one-third (34%) of mobile phone shipments during the quarter, while Apple's iPhones made up only 11% of the shipments. When looking at only smartphones, over two-thirds (69%) of the quarter's shipments were Android handsets.
Samsung led shipments by growing 78% year-over-year, but Chinese companies such as Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo saw triple-digit growth, while Sony fell out of the top five. In China, smartphone shipments comprised a full 73% of mobile phone shipments during the quarter.
"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 at Canalys. "When we look at the whole of 2012, Nokia remained the number three smart phone 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 smart phone 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 localize their respective app and content ecosystems."