There are two fighters left in the battle for market share dominance in the mobile space: Apple and Google. Android powers Samsung’s flagship handsets, and the Korean company continues to crush Apple in terms of sheer volume of units sold. Without Android, Samsung wouldn’t be near as successful.
But Apple is showing incredible growth, especially in emerging markets like China and Brazil. Smartphone sales are cannibalizing ’dumb phones’ rapidly, and Apple is leading the smartphone pack with Samsung and Android.
Industry research firm Gartner released its mobile phone sales report for the third quarter of 2012 this morning. The biggest takeaway is that the only two vendors showing significant growth are Samsung and Apple. Both companies are also involved in the most high-profile mobile patent lawsuit in history. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.
“Both vendors together controlled 46.5 percent of smartphone market leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot,” said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta.
Apple saw a 36.2% increase in year-over-year iPhone sales, totaling an estimated 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012. “We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Gupta. Gartner expects Apple to see record-breaking sales this holiday season with all of the new iOS and Mac products that have been announced in recent months. Tim Cook seemed to agree in Apple’s last earnings report, “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”
Nokia is still a big player internationally, but the company’s sales continue to decline so quickly that it’s only a matter of time before Apple takes the number two position under Samsung. Android and iOS are the only mobile platforms that are really competing, and you can bet that Apple will do everything it can in and out of the courtroom to close the gap.