iPhone 4S top smartphone in US
San Francisco - Massive fourth-quarter sales of the iPhone 4S helped Apple reclaim its crown as the world's top smartphone, as global smartphone sales jumped 55% on the same period last year, according to a report published on Tuesday by research firm IDC.
Customers around the world snapped up a total 158 million smartphones in the quarter, compared to 102 million in the last three months of the previous year, with Apple's 37 million iPhones leading the way.
"By the end of the quarter, one out of every three mobiles phones shipped worldwide was a smartphone," said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas in a statement.
"The launch of Apple's iPhone 4S played a key role in smartphone growth to capture pent-up demand, and smartphone launches from other vendors also provided a broad selection to meet varying preferences and budgets."
Llamas said falling smartphone prices and consumer desire to upgrade to more powerful models were the main factors behind the global smartphone surge.
Despite Apple's late year sales spike, Samsung still sold the most smartphones in 2011, shipping a total of 94 million, compared to Apple's 93.2 million, the report said.
In total, customers bought 491.6 million smartphones last year, up 61% on the 304.7 million they bought in 2010.
Nokia was the big loser of the year, as its market share slumped by more than 50% to 12.4%, while Blackberry manufacturer Research in Motion saw its market share drop from 14% to 8%.
A separate study by the NPD group published on Tuesday found that Apple and Android devices accounted for more than 90% of the smartphone market, with Android accounting for 48% of the market.
The Google-powered operating system was especially strong among first-time smartphone buyers, 57% of whom purchased Android phones, the report said.