Samsung has been on a roll in the Android world ever since they launched the Galaxy S, which again besides the very controversial design, it had some very innovative features, like the Super AMOLED display, which at the time was absolutely incredible compared to any mobile LCD on the market, and the very powerful Hummingbird chip.
They have ridden that success until now with devices like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note, and now the Galaxy S3, which they claim has reached 10 million orders by carriers all over the world. They are now the biggest smartphone maker in the world, and also the biggest phone maker overall, all thanks to Android, which has become available even for sub-$100 smartphones in some parts of the world.
After all of this, it's no surprise that Samsung sells a whooping 40% of Android units, while the rest 60% going to HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony, Huawei and all the other smaller or lesser known manufacturers. This is a surprising feat for Samsung, but they might ever surpass this number unless the other manufacturers get their act together in 2012, and start delivering better devices that wow people.
HTC has done pretty well this year with their One line-up, and they finally have a device that is recognizable as a flagship – the One X. Now millions of people will be expecting the One X2 next year, which was something HTC was lacking so far. Then there's LG, which has managed to surprise us on occassion with some high-end specs in their smartphones, but they fail to deliver at the last moment, either with software that is buggy, poor quality of the device in general, and no upgrades for their phones.
Sony I feel will start becoming more popular this year with their high-end and well designed devices. They are finally on the same page with the others regarding upgrades, and more recently even with hardware. I'll be looking forward to see what kind of Nexus device they show this fall together with the others.
Huawei has become more and more surprising for hardware specs and quality of the devices in the general, especially when they used to be known for making cheap devices (not exactly a compliment here). But I still think they are a little behind in hardware and we don't know how well they will handle software upgrades yet. I don't think 2012 is their year to shine, but maybe 2013.
Finally, Motorola which still hasn't been fully acquired by Google yet (blame China), hasn't put out anything exciting lately, but I'm expecting some impressive device this fall with the launch of Android 5.0, which will most likely be designed by Google, and I'm also hoping that going into 2013 they will use only stock Android for their phones. I have a feeling that some of these companies will make a comeback by the end of the year, and start challenging Samsung for the best maker of smartphones into 2013.