Fresh off the publication of its latest tablet report, Strategy Analytics has come out with a new batch of statistics on the global mobile market. In a report published yesterday, the research firm crowned Apple as the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume, on the strength of the 37 million iPhones it shipped during Q4 2011 -- good for 23.9 percent of the market. Samsung wasn't too far behind, though, with 36.5 million smartphones shipped during the quarter, comprising 23.5 percent of the market. Nokia finished in third place, with 19.6 million smartphones and a 12.6 percent market share, though it fared notably better among handset makers on a global (i.e., smartphone and feature phone) level. According to Strategy Analytics, the Finnish manufacturer shipped 417.1 million handsets for the full year, 113.5 million of which were shipped during the fourth quarter of last year. For the year, Nokia accounted for 26.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung, which shipped 327.4 million units shipped during 2011 and finished with a 23.1 percent market share. As for Apple, it accounted for 8.3 percent of the market in Q4 (its best showing, according to Strategy's metrics), with 37 million quarterly shipments. You can find more details in the pair of press releases after the break, or at the source link below.
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Strategy Analytics: Apple Becomes World's Largest Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011

BOSTON, Jan 26, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple reclaimed top position as the world's number one smartphone vendor during the quarter.

Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Global smartphone shipments grew 54 percent annually to reach a record 155.0 million units in Q4 2011. Apple overtook Samsung to become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24 percent market share. Apple's global smartphone shipments surged 128 percent annually to 37.0 million units, as distribution of the iPhone family expanded across numerous countries, dozens of operators and multiple price points."

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "While Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20 percent global share during 2011. With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world's largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets."

Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Nokia's global smartphone market share halved from 33 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011. A lackluster touchscreen smartphone portfolio and a limited presence in the huge United States market caused Nokia's shrinkage last year. Nokia's partnership with Microsoft will be very much in focus during 2012, and the industry will be watching closely to see how swiftly the two companies can expand in the high-value 4G LTE market that is rapidly emerging across the United States, Japan and elsewhere."
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Strategy Analytics: Global Handset Shipments Reach 1.6 Billion Units in 2011

BOSTON, Jan 26, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global handset shipments grew 11 percent annually to reach 445 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple was the star performer, capturing a record 8 percent market share worldwide during the quarter. Full-year handset shipments reached 1.6 billion units globally in 2011, with annual growth of 14 percent.

Alex Spektor, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Despite continued macroeconomic difficulties in major markets like Western Europe, global handset shipments grew a reasonable 11 percent annually to reach 445 million units in Q4 2011. Apple was the star performer, shipping 37.0 million iPhones worldwide and capturing a highest-ever 8 percent market share. Apple's growth was fueled by intense demand for its refreshed iPhone 4S, as well as the availability of three generations of iPhones at a variety of price points at operators like AT&T in the United States."

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Nokia's global handset shipments declined 8 percent annually to 113.5 million units in Q4 2011. Volumes were buoyed by the sales of Nokia's low-end dual-SIM models in emerging markets like Southeast Asia, but were a little soft overall, as initial shipments of Microsoft Lumia phones could not offset declining Symbian sales. Hot on Nokia's heels, second-ranked Samsung captured 21 percent share with shipments of 95.0 million units. Samsung's 18 percent annual growth was fueled by robust shipments of its broad Galaxy-branded 3G portfolio, headlined by the Galaxy S2 superphone."

Tom Kang, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Smartphone specialist Apple shipped 93.0 million handsets worldwide in 2011, nearly doubling the previous year's volumes. Currently in just its fifth year of participation in the handset market, Apple is on track to ship well over 100 million units during 2012. China is becoming a key market for Apple this year, and we expect Apple's share to grow rapidly in 2012, despite countless copycat rivals."

Engadget Podcast 278 - 01.26.2012