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Lenovo now world's third biggest smartphone maker after dethroning LG

Lenovo edged out LG in the third quarter to become the number three global smartphone maker for the first time, according to data from Gartner.

Lenovo's smartphone sales grew to 12.9 million units, up 84.5 per cent year over year, thanks in large part to the Chinese market. It captured 5.1 per cent of the global market, up from 4.1 per cent during the same time period last year, Gartner said. In the overall mobile phone market, Lenovo was at number seven.

Beijing-based Lenovo tackled the phablet category at the IFA trade show in September with the launch of the Vibe X, a 5in smartphone.

"Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market, which represents more than 95 percent of its overall mobile phone sales. This could limit its growth after 2014, when the Chinese market is expected to decelerate," Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, there were reports that Lenovo was interested in acquiring BlackBerry. But Canadian officials reportedly stopped that bid in its tracks, citing security concerns associated with handing over BlackBerry to a Chinese company.

In the number one and two spots for smartphones were the usual suspects: Samsung and Apple. Samsung had 32.1 per cent of the market in Q3, the same share it had last year, selling 80.3 million devices. Apple declined slightly from 14.3 per cent to 12.1 per cent, but still shipped 30.3 million iPhones, more than double the 12.8 million from number three Lenovo.

Though Nokia failed to push LG and Huawei from the top five, it landed at number eight and "did better than anticipated" thanks to sales of its Lumia and Asha lineup, Gartner said.

"Increased smartphone sales supported by an expanded Lumia portfolio, helped Nokia move up to the No. 8 spot in the global smartphone market," Gartner said. "But regional and Chinese Android device manufacturers continued to beat market demand, taking larger share and creating a tough competitive environment for Lumia devices."

In terms of mobile operating systems, Gartner put Android's market share at 81.9 per cent, echoing data from IDC earlier this week. In a distant second was iOS with 12.1 per cent, followed by Windows Phone with 3.6 per cent (up from 2.3 per cent last year), and BlackBerry at 1.8 per cent, down from 5.2 per cent.

Image Credit: Flickr (Cory M. Grenier)