In the third quarter alone, more than 250 million smartphones shipped worldwide as the market grew 44 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Backed by huge shipments of the Galaxy S4 and the new iPhone 5s and 5c, Samsung and Apple maintained their top positions with respective shares of 34 percent and 15 percent. Huawei, Lenovo and LG rounded out the global top five, according to analysts at Canalys.
More consumers are going for smartphones with bigger screens. Shipments of smartphones with displays larger than five inches reached their highest level ever, accounting for 22 percent of shipments, or about 56 million units. This trend is primarily driven by Samsung, which dominates the large-screen market.
And the screens just keep getting bigger; however, future success is probably on Samsung's shoulders.
"The six-inch-plus segment will be boosted next quarter by Nokia's arrival, but this market won't develop quickly unless Samsung invests marketing dollars to push its Galaxy Mega range," said research analyst Jingwen Wang.
Comparing operating systems, Android and iOS remained static, but Microsoft was able to increase its market share to 4 percent. Shipments increased by 185 percent, to 9.2 million units when compared to the third quarter of 2012, making it the second biggest operating system in 19 countries including Finalnd (39 percent share), Vietnam (16 percent share), Italy (15 percent share), Thailand (11 percent), Turkey (11 percent) and Russia (8 percent).
"Nokia's new Lumia handsets will help shore up this position in the holiday quarter, but Microsoft and Nokia must ensure that momentum is kept up well into the new year as the acquisition goes through to completion," said Singapore-based analyst Jessica Kwee.