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February 5, 2012

Smartphone shipments grew 57% in Q4 2011

Pad shipments grew 274% in 2011 compared to the previous year

By CBR Staff Writer

Total annual global shipments of smartphones exceeded those of client PCs (including pads), with vendors shipping 158.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 57% from the 101.2 million units shipped in the same quarter previous year, according to a new report by Canalys.

Total global shipments of smartphones for the whole of 2011 increased by 63% to 488 million units from 299.7 million smartphones shipped throughout 2010, the report said.

Pad shipments with 274% growth in 2011 accounted for 15% of all client PC shipments, which grew 15% in 2011 to 414.6 million units.

Canalys VP and principal analyst Chris Jones said in 2011 they saw a fall in demand for netbooks, and slowing demand for notebooks and desktops as a direct result of rising interest in pads.

"But pads have had negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011," Jones added.

"The greater availability of smartphones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices."

Canalys, however, expects smartphone market to grow slow in 2012 as vendors exercise greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability. It is noted that low-end market-focussed vendors such as Huawei, ZTE and LG, are now emphasising more on the higher tiers.

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With shipments of 37 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs in Q4 2011, Apple has become the leading smartphone and client PC vendor in the quarter, and displaced Nokia as the leading smartphone vendor by annual shipments.

Samsung showed strong sales in Q4 2011 with the shipment of 35.3 million smart phones (excluding rebranded products, such as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus) in the quarter, totalling to 91.9 million for 2011, compared to 24.9 million in 2010.

Nokia shipped 19.6 million smartphones in Q4, down 31% from the same quarter previous year, totalling to 77.3 million unit shipment throughout 2011 globally, the report said.

Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepherd said Nokia’s first Windows Phone products, the Lumia 800 and 710, along with the recently announced Lumia 900 through AT&T in the US, have improved the outlook for the company.

According to the report, RIM had a tough year as it had ended the year as the fourth largest smartphone vendor, delivering annual unit growth of 5%.

At a platform level, Android accounted for 52% of global smartphones shipments in Q4 2011, with iOS representing 23% and Symbian 12%. Android smartphone shipments grew by 244% to 237.8 million for the full year compared to the unit shipments in 2010.

The focus on Android platform by Samsung has given the company a significant success in the smartphone market and contributed to the growth of the platform also.

Significant growth in Android volumes by other vendors, such as Sony Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, LG and particularly HTC, has been achieved over the course of 2011, the report said.

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