Samsung Galaxy S II

A Gartner study released on Wednesday, May 16, shows that Apple has increased its market share of mobile phones sold worldwide to 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Apple claimed a mere 3.9 percent of mobile phone sales in the first quarter of 2011, selling a total of 16.8 million iPhones to customers. The release of the iPhone 4S is at least partly the reason for the increase. The first weekend the phone was available, more than 4 million units were sold.

The increase is also significant because, unlike the two companies above Apple on the list, the only phones Apple sells are smartphones. With 35 percent of mobile phone users using smartphones, the data means Apple has a significant share of smartphone owners purchasing its iPhone. The data for Samsung and Nokia, the first and second companies on the list respectively, includes both smartphones and traditional cell phones.

Samsung still sold more smartphones than Apple. It shipped 38 million, while Apple shipped 33.1 million.  Since Gartner’s data includes only phones sold to end users, its estimate of Apple’s sales is less than Apple’s self-reported amount of 35.1 million. Samsung’s smartphone sales made up 43.9 percent of its overall sales, as opposed to 19 percent for third place contender Nokia. “Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level,” said Anshul Gupta, a Gartner principal research analyst, when citing the figures.
iPhone 4S Smartphone

The Android operating system was sold more than other systems, with 56.1 percent of sales. RIM sold 9.9 million BlackBerry phones, taking only 2.4 percent of the market share. iPhone and Windows Phone operating systems served the rest of the market.

Every year, more smartphones and fewer traditional mobile phones are being sold to end users. The study found that the figure of 144.4 million smartphones sold in the first quarter of 2012 was up 44.7 percent from a year ago.

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