Consumer demand for Apple's iPhone 4S and other next-generation devices helped the worldwide smartphone market grow 54.7 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to an IDC report.
That surpassed IDC's earlier estimate. For the entirety of 2011, smartphone shipments totaled some 491.4 million units, up 61.3 percent from 304.7 million units in 2010. Although the iPhone 4S and other high-end smartphones attracted the lion's share of attention from the media and the blogosphere, manufacturers' midrange offerings contributed mightily to those final numbers.
"So-called 'hero devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Apple's iPhone 4S, garner the bulk of the attention heaped on the device type," Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC, wrote in a Feb. 6 statement accompanying the data. "But a growing number of sub-$250 device offerings, based on the Android operating system, have allowed Google's hardware partners to grow smartphone volumes and expand the market concurrently."
In IDC's estimation, Apple topped the list of worldwide smartphone vendors with 23.5 percent of the overall market in the fourth quarter of 2011, a notable increase from 15.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Trailing just behind it was Samsung, with 22.8 percent for the quarter, likewise a significant increase from its 9.4 percent during the same period in 2010.
Nokia came in third, with 12.4 percent of the worldwide market. IDC noted that the company passed the largest year-over-year decrease among top vendors, as it took its homegrown Symbian operating system offline in favor of new devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Research In Motion and HTC finished fourth and fifth on that list, respectively, with 8.2 percent and 6.5 percent of the market.
Finally, HTC faced a year-over-year decline in its market share, from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent.
This article was originally published on 02-08-2012