Even with more mobile phone choices than ever, according to a recent Gartner report, sales dropped slightly worldwide in 2012, but Samsung remained the top overall seller of feature phones and smartphones combined.
According to the report, smartphones largely drove mobile phone sales worldwide in 2012 and Apple and Samsung accounted for 52 percent of the market.
Slow Feature Phone Sales Holding Numbers Down
While sales did drop a tad in the fourth quarter from 2011 to 2012, it was the big drop in feature phone sales that held the numbers back. Smartphone sales actually went up in Q4 2012 compared to 2011. It was a record breaking quarter, jumping up 38 percent to 207.7 million units, Gartner reported. Furthermore, Gartner is predicting smartphone sales to reach 1 billion in 2013.
The leaders in smartphone sales were Samsung and Apple, and together they raised their collective worldwide share to 52 percent in Q4 2012 from 46.4 percent in Q3. Samsung not only led in overall mobile phone sales, but also in smartphones.
The up and comer of smartphones is now Huawei. It sold 27.2 million smartphones, up nearly 74 percent. Huawei is one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world along with the likes of Ericsson, but its presence in the US, at least, is minimal.
It did announce some higher end devices at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, but the Chinese manufacturer will largely continue to depend on international markets, Gartner reported.
Android on 70% of Smartphones Sold in Q4 2012
Samsung, along with its Android partnership with Google, is looking like a runaway freight train. Android phones completely dominated smartphone sales in Q4 2012 with a 70 percent market share. iOS came in second at almost 21 percent, but after that, the numbers drop off into the low single digits for the likes of the BlackBerry and Microsoft systems.
Gartner is a bit more optimistic that the Firefox, BlackBerry10 or Windows Phone 8 systems will be viable alternatives to Android than we are. If they do become viable, it won't be in 2013. Maybe by 2015, but at least in the US, it will largely be up to the carriers. They are the ones in control here. Without widespread adoption of anything other than Android and iOS by the major carriers, the market will look just like it does now for a long time.
The top four mobile phone makers in 2012 were Samsung, Nokia, Apple and ZTE. We created this infographic to give a bit more detail from the Gartner report. Tell us in the comments if you think the Android and iOS duopoly will be challenged at all in the US in 2013.