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Samsung boasts "colossal" smartphone lead over Apple

While many might consider the iPhone to be the dominant smartphone in the land, it is Android-based phones - particularly those from Samsung - that rule the roost.

According to recent data from Canalys, Android smartphones made up 34 per cent of global phone shipments during the fourth quarter of 2012, while iOS came in at 11 per cent. Overall, smartphones represented 50 per cent of the phones that shipped during the quarter.

Drilling down on smartphones, Android handsets made up 69 per cent of the 216.5 million devices that shipped. That's down from 74 per cent as Apple jumped from 15 per cent to 22 per cent, thanks to the iPhone 5. BlackBerry and Windows Phone stayed the same at 4 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively.

Canalys found that Samsung had a "very strong" quarter, growing 78 per cent, while Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, and Yulong also saw triple-digit percentage increases. Huawei took the third-place spot behind Apple for the first time, followed by ZTE.

The faltering handset makers, meanwhile, have a long road ahead of them. Sony fell out of the top five altogether, making way for Lenovo.

"BlackBerry, Microsoft and Nokia, as well as other Android vendors, have strategies and devices in place to attack, but the task is daunting to say the least," Pete Cunningham, a principal analyst at Canalys, said in a statement.

Looking at 2012 as a whole, Canalys determined that Samsung was the number one smartphone vendor.

"First-placed Samsung shipped 74 million more than Apple – the gaps are colossal," Cunningham said.

Apple was number two while Nokia landed at number three with 35 million smartphones shipped.

"Vendors left in the wake of the top vendors must at the very least improve their portfolios, time-to-market and marketing, as well as communicate their differentiators," Cunningham said. "Microsoft, BlackBerry and other new OS entrants, such as Mozilla, must make the OS switch as simple as possible and drive and localize their respective app and content ecosystems."