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Independent IT analyst firm Canalys has published its Q4 mobile-phone shipment estimates, and the numbers are favorable to Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) Android for the 50-plus countries the firm tracks.
At 438.1 million units shipped, there was no growth in the total phone market year over year. However, the smartphone market grew by 37%, comprising almost 50% of all phones. Android phones made up 34% of total phone shipments, while iOS phones accounted for only 11%. Within the smartphone market, Android handsets made up 69% of the 216.5 million total.
Among smartphone hardware manufacturers, Samsung topped the competition, shipping 74 million more handsets than Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) 101 million. Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) remained No. 3 with 35 million units. For the first time, Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE took third and fourth place, respectively. Meanwhile, Sony (NYSE: SNE ) fell out of the top five, while Lenovo moved in by shipping 9.5 million units.
The Chinese companies saw their shipments increase because of demand in their home markets and growing exposure to the United States. On the back of Chinese demand, Lenovo grew 216%, accounting for 98% of the company's shipments. Still, as analyst Jessica Kwee said, Lenovo struggles "to gain a foothold outside China and may be forced down the acquisition route -- as it was with its PC business -- hence the speculation" about a move from BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY ) .
Meanwhile, Apple's market share in China is lacking, largely because of high prices for its products, combined with a lack of presence on the China Mobile network. The report suggests that a cheaper device from Apple would "open the floodgates" there.