Apple is the largest smartphone vendor to end users for 2011, says Gartner

Apple is the largest smartphone vendor to end users for 2011, says Gartner
Apple said it sold 37 million iPhones in Q4, of which Gartner calculates 35.5 went directly to end users. This made it zip past Samsung, which had slight inventory buildup at the end of the year, to become the world's largest smartphone seller to end users for the whole of 2011.

As far as mobile operating systems go, Gartner estimates that due to the stellar iPhone 4S sales, Android's market share went slightly down - from 53% in Q3, to 50.9% in Q4. 

In terms of overall volume Nokia is still king with 23.4%, followed by Samsung with 19.4%, and Apple overtaking LG for the third spot with 7.4% of the overall phone market with its hugely profitable iPhone lineup. 

Apple's share of the market is expected to decline in the quarters that precede the launch of the next iPhon in the summer, as fewer people are left to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.

Smartphone sales were nearly half a billion in 2011, and, as Apple's CEO Tim Cook said yesterday, it is a "jawdropping industry", predicted to hit a billion phones sold annually in a few years, so everyone is scrambling for a better position.


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