Independent analyst firm, Canalys, estimates that 438.1 million mobile phone units were shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012, out of which almost 50 percent shipments were of smartphones at 216.5 million units. While total phone shipments remained stable, smartphone shipments grew by 37% compared to the same quarter in 2011.The firm tracks mobile phone shipments across 50+ countries.
Taking a close look at mobile OS platforms, Canalys revealed that 34 percent of the total mobile phone shipments in Q4 2012 consisted of Android smartphones, while the share of iOS phones was at 11 percent. However, keeping into consideration only smartphone shipments, Android smartphones accounted for 69 percent of the 216.5 million shipped, while iOS was at the second spot with a 22 percent share. BlackBerry's declining popularity is reflected in unit shipments which were very low at just 7.6 million, or 3.5 percent of all smartphone shipments. Microsoft, Nokia and others trailed at 2.4 percent, 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
In terms of brands, Samsung holds the pole position recording 62.9 million smartphone shipments, 29 percent of all smartphone shipments in Q4 2012. Apple shipped 47.8 million units holding a 22.1 percent share. Huawei and ZTE took the third and fourth place, while Lenovo replaced Sony to enter into the top-5 club. It's interesting to see that three Chinese handset makers feature in the list. But it doesn't come as a surprise since China is the largest phone market, and 64.7 million smartphone units out of the 216.5 million were shipped to China.
Overall, Samsung shipped 210 million smartphones in 2012, followed by Apple, which shipped 136 million smartphones, and Nokia whose factories sent 35 million smartphones for sale, according to Canalys.