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Nokia still world's largest mobile phone manufacturer, with Apple in hot pursuit

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Figures from IDC and SA have revealed that Nokia is the world's largest phone manufacturer, but Apple has overtaken Samsung to take the top spot in smartphones.

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Nokia is still the "undisputed leader of total mobile phone shipments," according to Q4 2011 and yearly figures released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and Strategy Analytics. While shipments in Q4 were down by about 10 million units year-on-year, a decrease of 8.2 percent, the Finnish manufacturer managed to stay on top with 26.6 percent of the market share and a total of 417.1 million phones shipped in 2011, 7.9 percent less than the previous year.


The other big winners were Samsung and Apple, which captured 22.8 percent and 8.7 percent of the market respectively, after both seeing outstanding quarters — Samsung shipped over 90 million phones for the first time, and Apple's year-on-year market share jumped by 128.4 percent. While IDC and Strategy Analytics' figures largely matched up, the latter firm estimated 2.5 million less handset shipments from Samsung. LG saw declining shipments for a third consecutive quarter, with its share declining 42.2 percent year on year, but also managed a return to profitability.

IDC's figures refer to the mobile phone market as a whole, but unsurprisingly smartphone-only figures tell a different story. A report by Strategy Analytics reveals that Apple is now the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, overtaking Samsung in the last quarter to grab 23.9 percent marketshare. Samsung still has 23.5 percent, and Nokia fell all the way to 12.6 percent. IDC notes that while smartphones are growing fast in popularity, feature phones still make up the majority of mobile shipments worldwide — Strategy Analytics says 155 million smartphones were shipped in Q4, against IDC's figure of 427.4 million phones in total. It's worth noting, though, that "smartphone" is a fairly nebulous concept, and the line is likely to get increasingly blurry as penetration grows in developing markets.