Apple's been top of the smartphone table in Japan for a while, but the company's success doesn't end there. Research firm IDC Japan has revealed that the company had the largest share of all mobile phone shipments in the final quarter of 2011, accounting for 26.6 percent of the entire mobile market. This is a significant achievement for Apple in an environment previously considered by many to be too insular and specialized for a foreign contender to succeed. The iPhone indeed had a rocky start in Japan, with a perceived lack of functionality and an exclusive deal with third-placed carrier SoftBank, but eventually won the market over with aggressive pricing campaigns and word of mouth.
Second and third place went to Fujitsu and Sharp respectively, though last we heard Sharp was number two in the smartphone space. While Sharp did make the highest number of overall phone shipments throughout 2011, it looks like it'll face a stiff challenge for that crown from Apple this year — with KDDI breaking SoftBank's exclusivity last year and Siri learning to speak Japanese this week, we'd only expect the iPhone's popularity to grow in Japan.