There are some surprising winners in the smartphone market in the last quarter of 2012. The top 2 manufacturers are well established (Apple and Samsung), but the other 3 spots in the top 5 ranking seem to be Huawei, Sony and ZTE, in that order. Most people should be surprised by Huawei and ZTE getting so big, considering they’ve only made poor quality products in the past, but if you’ve been watching them for the past year or so, you would’ve noticed that they’ve worked hard to increase the quality of their Android devices, while in the same time trying to compete in the higher-end devices market.
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While they are not quite there at the high-end with the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony, they are advancing quickly, perhaps faster than some of these guys can keep up. Case in point, HTC. Right now HTC has smaller market share than both of these companies, and LG, too. If they don’t do something radical, they might never recover their lost positions. LG might still have a shot, as a bigger company with revenue from other markets, but HTC is a pretty small company and almost no profit these days.
Perhaps the even bigger surprise in this ranking is Sony, who seems to have climbed a few spots, and is now in 4th place. The increase in quality and design of their phones, and trying to make them as cutting edge spec wise as possible, has paid off for them. If they keep up, and I think they will, 2013 should look even better for them, from what we’re seeing with the Xperia Z phone and the Xperia Z tablet.
There’s no doubt that Samsung and Apple will continue to dominate 2013, and in the 2nd half of 2013 we might even see Motorola start rising in rankings if the X-Phone is all that interesting and exciting. But with Motorola withdrawing from many other countries, and with them never having a significant role globally, it might take a while until it gets close to the top 5 ranking in the smartphone market.