Apple reclaimed top smartphone maker title in Q4, but Samsung still finished ahead for 2011

Apple reclaimed top smartphone maker title in Q4, but Samsung still finished ahead for 2011
Apple sold about 17 million handsets in Q3 last year, while Samsung moved 20 million, occupying the world's top smartphone maker spot for the first time. In the last quarter of 2011 these roles have allegedly reversed, and Apple said it has made and sold 37.04 million iPhones, whereas Samsung is estimated to have sold 36.5 million. 

It is not a large difference, and Samsung's quarter was a week shorter than Apple's, plus the Koreans stopped reporting hard sales numbers last year, so it is really hard to gauge who won, but these are the Strategy Analytics analysts' ballpark estimates below, based on Samsung's disclaimer that it sold 30% more smartphones than in Q3.

The thing is that Samsung's portfolio there spans from the lowly Galaxy Y, to the monster Samsung Galaxy S II HD, with short trips to Windows Phones, like the Samsung Focus Flash, and bada handsets like the Wave 3. Whereas Apple sells only iPhones, and the last two iterations can hardly be told apart externally - this focus on the high-end brought Apple the amazing profit margins it is currently enjoying, and most other companies also mentioned that they plan to make fewer, but quality devices this year. 

The iPhone's last stellar quarter brought it the highest ever for Apple 8.3% market share from all phones sold in Q4, although for the full year Cupertino holds 6% of the world's cell phone market, behind Nokia, Samsung, LG, and ZTE.

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15 Comments

1. som

Posts: 768; Member since: Nov 10, 2009

Apple is a top phone vendor and Samsung is a top phone maker.

10. SleepingOz unregistered

WTF?! Use your brain next time you comment!

13. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Actually that makes sense Apple doesn't make anything they sell (other than software, since they're a software company). All their physical products are made by a third-party company or companies, who then stick the apple logo and software on an otherwise ordinary unexciting piece of electronics. Apple then ships it, tacks on $500 or more to the actual manufacturing price, and makes a profit. Hence, they are a vendor, and, based on profit margins, a "top" one. Samsung actually makes their own phones, hence is a phone maker. They also make their own chipsets, memory, and other consumer electronics. Based on market penetration and volume, they are definitely a "top" maker

14. SleepingOz unregistered

Does Samsung only produce phones? So what do they do with the phones they produced? Aren't they suppose to sell them, thus making them the top VENDOR as seen in the article above. This study isn't based on profit but units sold! You too should make a better use of your brain next time you comment.

2. 9_HeLLs_oF_DrOid

Posts: 127; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Apple knows how to fool while Samsung knows how to make better devices!

3. rf1975

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Correction. Apple knows how to make business and Samsung knows how to make funny TV add.

4. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

Correction. Apple knows to exploit human weaknesses. Samsung knows to please their customers with top technology phones

7. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

Correction. Apple knows how to introduce revolutionary devices, while Samsung knows how to copy :)

9. Sackboy117

Posts: 178; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Correction. Apple makes apples and Samsung makes washing machines

11. SleepingOz unregistered

I wonder what's so revolutionary about apple's products.. 9" ipod touch? Woah magical..

12. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

Hello Taco Nice to see you back under another name

5. shelley.bevacqua

Posts: 80; Member since: Aug 27, 2011

Gotta love Samsung. I do. The Galaxy Nexus is such a fine piece of art. .

6. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

go sammy go. I dont understand the connotation in the article though. The vast majority of Samsung's smartphone sales come from the SGS1 and SGS2. There are 3 iphones on sale now, the 3gs, 4 and 4s which all span that free-middle-high playing field.

8. 530gemini

Posts: 2198; Member since: Sep 09, 2010

@remix. Are you saying that you still haven't read that article that the ip4s is pretty much responsible for majority of iphone sales? That's odd. You're on every Apple article, yet you act like you don't know :)

15. ghost__uwi

Posts: 175; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

I actually glad that phone makers will now have one phone. I mean Sheesh you by a phone today and tmw they release the better one. At least one benefit of iPhone was you had the "latest" tech for 1 year until the next best thing. I really hope developers start focusing on quality rather than quantity.

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