Worldwide smartphone sales to end users soared to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 47.3 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units and accounted for 31 percent of all mobile devices sales, up 58 percent from 2010.
Smartphone volumes during the quarter rose due to record sales of Apple iPhones. As a result, Apple became the third-largest mobile phone vendor in the world, overtaking LG. Apple also became the world's top smartphone vendor, with a market share of 23.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the top smartphone vendor for 2011 as a whole, with a 19 percent market share.
The quarter saw Samsung and Apple cement their positions further at the top of the market as their brands and new products clearly stood out. LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion (RIM) again recorded disappointing results as they struggled to improve volumes and profits significantly. These vendors were also exposed to a much stronger threat from the midrange and low end of the smartphone market as ZTE and Huawei continued to gain share during the quarter.
Worldwide mobile device sales to end users totaled 476.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 5.4 percent increase from the same period in 2010. In 2011 as a whole, end users bought 1.8 billion units, an 11.1 percent increase from 2010.
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