According to Gartner, Apple emerged as the leading smartphone manufacturer in 2011.
Other reports pegged Samsung as the 2011 smartphone leader, but Gartner’s data placed Apple at the top with a 19% overall smartphone market share. The iPhone 4S released in October spurred a particularly strong 4th quarter for Apple during which the company stole a 23.8%market share with the sale of 37 million iPhones.
Apple’s success in markets outside of the U.S. helped spur growth in the entire industry as a whole especially in Western Europe.
“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." — Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza
LG, Motorola, Sony Ericson, and RIM all struggled to increase smartphone shipments and earnings not just because of competition from Samsung and Apple, but from manufacturers like ZTE and Huawei who grabbed more market share with low-end and midrange smartphones.
OS wise Android remains at the tip with 50.9% market share (up from 30.5% a year prior) with Apple coming at a distant second with 23.8% market share. However, from 3rd quarter to the 4th quarter Android saw a slight dip in market share, likely due to Apple’s strong iPhone 4S sales.