Apple takes Smartphone crown in Q4 2011

Apple has edged past Samsung again in global smartphone shipments, according to new research, reclaiming the smartphone top-spot in Q4 2011 thanks to huge demand for the iPhone 4S. The Cupertino company shipped 37m devices in Q4, versus 36.5m for Samsung, Strategy Analytics reckons, giving Apple 0.4-percent more marketshare worldwide than its Korean rivals. However, when the numbers are crunched for 2011 as a whole, Samsung still comes out ahead.

For the full year, Samsung shipped 97.4m smartphones versus Apple's 93m, making their marketshare 19.9-percent and 19-percent respectively. In contrast, Nokia dawdled in third place, with 15.8-percent of the market over 2011 and shipping a dwindling number of devices.

The race for the smartphone top spot sees Apple take the lead even as it loses marketshare in tablets. According to figures earlier this week, Apple's iPad has 57.6-percent of the worldwide tablet market in Q4, down from almost 70-percent the year previous.

The strong iPhone sales – amid dwindling iPod demand – have led to suggestions that Apple will significantly trim its standalone PMP range as more users combine multimedia and mobile functionality into a single device.