Apple now world's third biggest phone maker

Apple is now the world's third largest phone manufacturer. But which companies are still beating the iPhone-maker?

Apple is now the world's third largest phone manufacturer, beating LG and ZTE, according to a report from IDG.

The intelligence firm's research suggests the iPhone -spawning tech giant has leapt into the number three spot, up from fifth position in the last quarter. Apple's success is attributed to -- you guessed it -- the fact that it's flogged a bucketload of pricey iPhones.

IDG reckons Apple shifted 37 million mobiles in the last quarter of 2011, giving it an 8.7 per cent slice of the market. That's a tasty piece of the smart phone pie.

Apple's success is particularly impressive when you bear in mind that really it's only selling three phones -- the iPhone 4S , iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

Apple may have snuck into third place, but it's still miles behind Samsung, which sold 97.6 million phones in the last quarter of last year. Both companies trail Nokia, which moved 113.5 million mobiles in the same period.

Nokia may be clear in the lead, but IDG reckons our favourite Finns are flagging -- its market share is down an estimated 7.9 per cent since last year. When you consider that these figures count for all mobiles and not just smart phones, Nokia's figures look even gloomier and Apple's look even... er, un-gloomier.

Putting aside petty company squabbles, IDG reckons the mobile phone market as a whole grew by 11.1 per cent in 2011, which is a bit less than the 18.7 per cent growth enjoyed by good old 2010. It's thought that the slowing growth is due to faltering demand for mid-range feature phones.

What are your thoughts? What's next for mobiles? Can Apple hold its successful trajectory, or will Nokia maintain its lead with devices like the Windows Phone-powered Lumia 800? Tell us in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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