updated 04:15 pm EST, Mon February 6, 2012
Samsung tracks close behind, takes full year
In terms of shipments, Apple was the top smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a new IDC report. The company shipped roughly 37 million phones, giving it a 23.5 percent marketshare. Close behind was Samsung, which took a 22.8 percent share with 36 million phones. Nokia, Research in Motion, and HTC rounded out the top five, but trailing behind with shares of 12.4, 8.2, and 6.5 percent, respectively.
Apple is said to have set a shipment volume record for the entire industry, which the IDC argues is linked to a combination of pushing the iPhone 4S launch closer to the holiday season, and the introduction of new carriers, such as Sprint.
Samsung, though, narrowly edged out Apple for total 2011 shipments, delivering 94 million units next to Apple's 93.2 million; marketshares were 19.1 and 19 percent, respectively. Samsung also grew much faster in the fourth quarter, leaping ahead of itself 275 percent year-over-year, whereas Apple rose 128.4 percent. HTC grew just 17.2 percent though, and Nokia fell 30.5 percent, while RIM slipped 11 percent.
IDC's Kevin Restivo comments that while "hero devices" like the iPhone 4S and Galaxy Nexus have garnered the most attention, Android phone makers are thriving by producing an increasing number of sub-$250 models. Global smartphone shipments grew 61.3 percent in 2011, hitting 491.4 million units.