Gartner has published its mobile device numbers for the final quarter of 2011, reporting that 1.8 billion units were sold to end users across the year, up 11.1 per cent on 2010. Smartphones accounted for 31 per cent of all device sales with 472 million units sold, up 58 per cent year on year.

The analyst firm’s findings chime with those released earlier this year by Strategy Analytics. Apple has displaced Samsung as the leading smartphone vendor in the field, with a 23.8 per cent share of the high end handset market in the fourth quarter of last year, and 19 per cent across the whole 12 months. Apple sold 35.5 million iPhones in the last three months, Gartner said.

And there’s little to surprise in the firm’s assessment that competition from the chasing pack is doing little to trouble the top two in the smartphone space. Sony Ericsson, Motorola and RIM were all described as disappointing, failing to challenge the leaders while looking increasingly vulnerable to the low-end threat from the likes of Huawei and ZTE.

Samsung continues to close in on Nokia’s overall lead in the handset space, although the Finnish firm’s ability to execute and deliver on the Lumia WP7 products did offer a glimmer of hope. Nokia will have to price aggressively to stay in the game, Gartner said.

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2011 (Thousands of Units)

Company 2011Units 2011 Market Share (%) 2010Units 2010 Market Share (%)
Nokia 422,478.3 23.8 461,318.2 28.9
Samsung 313,904.2 17.7 281,065.8 17.6
Apple 89,263.2 5.0 46,598.3 2.9
LG Electronics 86,370.9 4.9 114,154.6 7.1
ZTE 56,881.8 3.2 29,686.0 1.9
Research in Motion 51,541.9 2.9 49,651.6 3.1
HTC 43,266.9 2.4 24,688.4 1.5
Huawei 40,663.4 2.3 23,814.7 1.5
Motorola 40,269.0 2.3 38,553.7 2.4
Sony Ericsson 32,597.5 1.8 41,819.2 2.6
Others 597,326.9 33.7 485,452.0 30.4
Total 1,774,564.1 100.0 1,596,802.4 100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2012)

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q11 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System 4Q11Units 4Q11 Market Share (%) 4Q10Units 4Q10 Market Share (%)
Android 75,906.1 50.9 30,801.2 30.5
iOS 35,456.0 23.8 16,011.1 15.8
Symbian 17,458.4 11.7 32,642.1 32.3
Research In Motion 13,184.5 8.8 14,762.0 14.6
Bada 3,111.3 2.1 2,026.8 2.0
Microsoft 2,759.0 1.9 3,419.3 3.4
Others 1,166.5 0.8 1,487.9 1.5
Total 149,041.8 100.0 101,150.3 100.0

Source: Gartner (February 2012)

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