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The fourth quarter was a big one for Apple, which surged from 15 percent of global smartphone shipments in Q3 2012 to 22 percent in the last three months of the year.
That’s one finding from researcher Canalys, which says the smartphone market grew by 37 percent last year. Manufacturers shipped approximately 216 million smartphones in 2012. Of those, a whopping 69 percent were Android devices. Android’s share dropped in Q4 from the previous quarter, however, from 78 percent to 74 percent, on the strength of the iPhone 5, which went on sale in late September. Samsung is far and away the leader among manufacturers in terms of total shipments, up 78 percent last quarter but competitors from China such as ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo all saw triple-digit growth.
BlackBerry, which is releasing a pair of new phones running its new BB10 operating system this quarter, had just 4 percent market share. Nokia and its Windows Phone operating system, powered by Microsoft, had only 2 percent.
"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, Canalys. "When we look at the whole of 2012, Nokia remained the No. 3 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."
Smartphones now make up almost half of all phones shipped, Canalys said.
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