Who’s Championing the Mobile Phone Market?

The numbers are out for smartphone and overall mobile sales around the world. However, the report does not contain too many surprises for anyone who has been keeping track of the figures for some time.

According to data from research firm Gartner, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) came in the lead for global smartphone sales as well as in the mobile phone category — which includes both smartphones and lower-end devices, such as feature phones. Samsung had 64.7 million smartphones shipped to end users in the first quarter of the year, and had a total of 100.6 million phones shipped. This gave the company a year-on-year increase in global market share from 21.1 percent to 23.6 percent in the whole mobile market and from 27.6 percent to 30.8 percent in the smartphone market. It seems as if there is no way to stop Samsung from increasing its lead, and its growth is expected to continue in the second quarter as well.

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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) glory days continued to slip further and further away in the wake of Samsung’s market proliferation, yet the company did see growth in the market. Apple easily maintained its second-place rank in the smartphone market, holding an 18.2 percent market share — though this was a decrease from 22.5 percent a year earlier. Apple did manage to grow sales year-on-year, just not by as much as some of the competitors. Device sales reached 38.3 million units, up from 33.1 million. Because Apple only produces smartphones, its numbers are the exact same for the both categories, though its market share is markedly reduced in the all-encompassing mobile category, at just 9 percent — up from 7.8 percent in the year-ago quarter, it even stands below Nokia (NYSE:NOK).

Despite beating Apple and most of the market in total mobile device sales, Nokia didn’t do so well in all respects. It had a 14.8 percent market share and 63.2 million sales, but this was down from 19.7 percent 83.1 million sales the year earlier. Its presence was so weak in smartphones that it didn’t even show up among Gartner’s top 5.

Asia-based brands besides Samsung are showing an increased strength. Korea-based LG Electronics and China-based Huawei Technologies both had boosted numbers in sales and market share in both the mobile phone and smartphone category. Some smaller east-Asian brands are also moving up, as Lenovo and Yulong had sales and market share both jump year-over-year in the mobile device category.

Overall, the mobile phone category saw sales grow from about 423 million devices in the first quarter of 2012 to 425.8 million devices for the first quarter this year. In comparison, smartphone growth was much larger, jumping from 147 million units to 210 million units in the same time-frame. It’s hard to gauge the accuracy of the information, as other analyst groups have showed numbers as much as 10 percent different. One firm, Canalys, even said that 300 million smartphones had shipped in the quarter.

As has been seen more and more often, the biggest chunk of the smartphone market’s growth has been gobbled up by

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Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. Aside from Android and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone, the other major smartphone operating systems saw their market shares decline. Microsoft managed to grab 1 percent more from the year prior, with sales of devices running its operating system going from 2.7 million to almost 6 million units. Continuing its sad story, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) saw its sales and shares slide pretty hard. Sales fell over 3.7 million units to 6.2 million, and its market share dropped 3.8 percent to 3 percent.

Here’s how Apple, Google, Microsoft, Blackberry and Nokia finished trading on Tuesday:

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