Samsung And Apple Take 1st And 2nd In The Global Smartphone Race; Huawei A Shaky Third

Huawei Ascend Mate

Ask anyone who the top dogs are in the smartphone market and undoubtedly you are going to hear Apple and Samsung. And why not considering the two have the best name recognition with their iPhone and Galaxy S lines respectively. But what about third place? That will get you probably every answer from Motorola to LG right? The actual answer may surprise you though, It's Chinese manufacturer Huawei.

This news comes by way of a report by Gartner, Inc. that says even though mobile phone sales in 2012 dropped by 1.7% from the previous year, smartphone sales actually increased. For example, in the fourth quarter alone the smartphone industry moved 207.7 million devices which was up a whopping 38.3% from Q4 2011. Taking the actual hit in sales is the feature phone market. In the same Q4 comparison those devices dropped 19.3% and Gartner sees this as a continuing trend going into 2013. The prediction is that out of a total of 1.9 billion mobile phone users, more than half of them, one billion, will own smartphones.

Going deeper into the numbers the report shows that Apple and Samsung's combined market share climbed from 46.4% to 52% from the third to fourth quarter in 2012. With Samsung taking the top sales spot worldwide.

That brings us to Huawei's jump to number three position, although it's not a very solid one. According to  Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner: "There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales. The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand."


Huawei's first time in the three slot was due to a strong fourth quarter in which they sold 27.2 million smartphones, a jump of 73.8% from 2011. The company isn't resting on those laurels either having recently announced the Ascend D2 and the Mate at CES in an attempt to gain market share in the premium category of the worldwide market.

Only time will tell if Huawei can remain in this slot, although they have been releasing some decent handsets as of late. With Mobile World Congress coming up featuring a slew of LG devices, not to mention HTC's upcoming big announcement as well as Motorola's X phone, 2013 should be a fun year.