According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics (, global smartphone shipments grew 54% annually to reach a record 155 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011. Apple reclaimed top position as the world’s number one smartphone vendor during the quarter.

“Global smartphone shipments grew 54% annually to reach a record 155.0 million units in Q4 2011,” says Alex Spektor, associate director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple overtook Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume with 24% market share. Apple’s global smartphone shipments surged 128% annually to 37 million units, as distribution of the iPhone family expanded across numerous countries, dozens of operators and multiple price points.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, adds: “While Apple took the top spot in smartphones on a quarterly basis, Samsung became the market leader in annual terms for the first time with 20 percent global share during 2011. With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world’s largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets.”

And according to ABI Research (, for the first time since Android was introduced, its market share declined from its a third quarter high of 52.5% to 47.0% in the fourth quarter. Despite Samsung’s 33 million shipments as the head Android OEM [original equipment manufacturer], Apple’s iPhone 4S cut Samsung off at the knees and outpaced Samsung’s highly coveted 280% year-over-year smartphone growth.