Right off the heels of too many financial reports and yet more smartphone research, IDC has weighed in with its own thoughts and analysis, noting that demand for smartphones is -- unsurprisingly -- not letting up. While the global market for mobile phones grew by 1.9 percent in the last quarter, "strong holiday smartphone sales" meant that units shipped were almost equal that of cheaper feature phones. 219.4 million smartphones shipped -- 45.5 percent of all phone shipments -- was slightly below IDC's optimistic predictions for Q4, but it's still been a notable quarter for new competitors like Huawei, which elbowed LG out from the top 5. IDC's senior analyst Kevin Restivo puts it down to Huawei's advantage in low-cost devices, not to mention its placement within China -- a country that can't get enough of phones.
ZTE also placed within IDC's Top 5 smartphone vendor leaderboard in the last quarter, with a 4.3 percent marketshare, although Samsung (29 percent) and Apple (21.8 percent) continued to dominate the top spots. Samsung saw a 76 percent increase since Q4 2011, extending its lead over the iPhone maker, while Huawei, now third, saw an 89.5 percent year-on-year increase on its smartphone shipments. Estimates on Sony's shipments place it fourth, with a decent 55.6 percent change since the same quarter in 2011.
Annual smartphone sales saw a more familiar pecking order, with Samsung, Apple, Nokia, HTC and RIM filling the lead positions. Year-on-year changes for Nokia, HTC and RIM were negative, likely affected on both sides by the aforementioned champions and new contenders -- the Finnish phone maker dropped shipments by 54.6 percent according to IDC's figures. Prefer your metrics and year-on-year changes tabled? Well, we've added both the quarterly and annual summaries right after the break.