Apple may have set the gold standard in smartphone design with the launch of its iconic iPhone back in 2007, but smartphones had been around for many years before that and, as with its computer products, the company’s share of the overall market has always been relatively modest. At present, the most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world is Samsung. Rather than being truly innovative and pushing back the boundaries, Samsung has grown by releasing high-quality, stylish products that make the most of existing technology.
Samsung was one of the first manufacturers to spot the potential for devices with larger screens – filling the gap between phones and tablets – and it is largely due to its Galaxy range of phones that it now controls 32.8% of the market, more than twice Apple’s 15.7% share.
The next biggest worldwide manufacturer is the Chinese multinational Huawei, producing around 16 million units during 2012 for just under 10% of the market. It is followed by Sony, then another Chinese firm, ZTE, then HTC and RIM – makes of Blackberry devices.
Nokia, once a dominant force in the field of mobile communications, now languishes in 10th place on the worldwide manufacturer list. Although the company products more Windows 8 smartphones than anyone else, the operating system has not yet proved to be as popular as many had hoped.
When the figures for the UK alone are looked at, Apple comes out on top with 28% of the market but Samsung is catching up fast with 24%. Almost two thirds of all phones sold in the UK are smartphones with Android devices accounting for more than half the total.
Globally, a recent entrant into the arena is likely to become a major player in the very near future. Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo, best known for having taken over the IBM brand, launched its own line of smartphones in 2012. Initially only available in China and subsequently India, enough of the phones were sold to propel the company in the top ten manufacturer list.
With Lenovo products becoming ever more widely known, the company is well placed to compete against existing smartphone manufacturers and is, without doubt, a name to watch.
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