Apple emerged as the top smartphone vendor for both the fourth quarter and the full year 2011, according to Gartner
Worldwide smartphone sales to reached 149m units in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 47.3% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2010, according to Gartner’s survey.
The total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472m units and accounted for 31% of all mobile devices sales, a growth of 58% compared to 2010.
Apple iPhones drove the sales of smartphones during the quarter, says the research firm.
The quarter also saw Apple became the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world, overtaking LG.
The iPad maker also became the world’s top smartphone vendor, with a market share of 23.8% in the quarter and the top smartphone vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a market share of 19%.
Gartner principal research analyst Roberta Cozza said Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011.
"In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales," said Cozza.
While Samsung and Apple bolstered their positions at the top of the market in this quarter, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion (RIM) disappointed as they found the going tough.
They also faced intense competition from the midrange and low end of the smartphone market as ZTE and Huawei increased their shares during the quarter.