We now have the final numbers reported by all four of the ‘Big Four’ analyst houses: IDC, Canalys, Strategy Analytics and Gartner. As always, I use the average of these four houses as the total market size, and then force a ‘best fit’ analysis of all published actual sales numbers (Apple) and/or strong consensus opinions (Samsung), and add the missing pieces by what other data we may have regionally on usage data etc.

This is how we can publish the most complete and thorough market share analysis of the smartphone market every quarter, including the full year numbers. This long-running series is what I call ‘Bloodbath’ series as we are in Bloodbath Year 3: Digital Jamboree. If you want to compare with 2011, check here

2012 FULL YEAR SMARTPHONE SALES STATISTICS

Rank . Brand . . . . 2012 units . . Share . . 2011 units . . Share . . 2010 units . . Share
1 (2) . Samsung . . 215.0 M . . . . 31.4% . . . 90.9 M . . . 18.7% . . . . 24.0 M . . . . 8.0%
2 (1) . Apple . . . . . 135.8 M . . . 19.8% . . . 93.1 M . . . 19.1% . . . . 47.5 M . . . . 15.9%
3 (8) . Huawei . . . . . 55.2 M . . . . 8.0% . . . 20.0 M . . . 4.1% . . . . . 5.0 M . . . . 1.5%
4 (3) . Nokia . . . . . . 35.0 M . . . . 5.1% . . . 77.3 M . . . 15.9% . . . 100.3 M . . . . 33.7%
5 (10) . ZTE . . . . . . 34.9 M . . . . 5.1% . . . 12.0 M . . . 2.5% . . . . .  3.5 M . . . . . 1.2%
6 (4) . RIM . . . . . . . 33.2 M . . . . 4.8% . . . 52.5 M . . . 10.8% . . . . 48.0 M . . . . 16.1%
7 (6) . Sony . . . . . . 31.9 M . . . . 4.6% . . . 26.8 M . . . 5.5% . . . . .  9.5 M . . . . 3.2%
8 (5) . HTC . . . . . . . 31.5 M . . . . 4.6% . . . 44.6 M . . . 9.2% . . . . 24.6 M . . . . 8.3%
9 (7) . LG . . . . . . . . 27.6 M . . . . 4.0% . . . 23.3 M . . . 4.8% . . . . . 7.0 M . . . . 2.4%
10 (-) . Lenovo . . . . 24.9 M . . . . 3.6% . . . . – - – . . . . . . . – -
Other . . . . . . . . . . . 61.7 M . . . . 8.9%
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . 686.7 M . . . . . . . . . 486.0 M . . . . . . . . . . . . 297.8 M
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

TOP 10 FACTS FOR 2012

  1. The smartphone global market grew 41% from 2011 to 2012
  2. Smartphones accounted for 39% of all mobile handsets sold
  3. Android passes rate of 1 million new devices activated every day
  4. There are 1.31 billion active smartphones in the world
  5. China is now the biggest smartphone market in the world
  6. Samsung topples Apple at the top
  7. Huawei makes strong gains and is World’s #3
  8. Motorola drops out of Top 10 for the first time in history
  9. Lenovo’s LePhone is enough to enter Top 10
  10. Microsoft failed to gain any market share

2012 FULL YEAR OPERATING SYSTEM MARKET SHARES

Rank . . OS . . . . . . . . 2012 units . . share . . 2011 units . . share . . 2010 units . . share
1 (1) . . Android . . . . . 452 M . . . . . 66% . . . 208 M . . . . . 43% . . . 54 M . . . . . . 18%
2 (2) . . iOS . . . . . . . . 136 M . . . . . 20% . . . . 93 M . . . . . 19% . . . 48 M . . . . . . 16%
3 (4) . . Blackberry . . . . 33 M . . . . . .5% . . . . 52 M . . . . . 11% . . . 48 M . . . . . . 16%
4 (3) . . Symbian . . . . . 19 M . . . . . . 3% . . . 81 M . . . . . 17% . . 116 M . . . . . . 39%
5 (5) . . bada . . . . . . . . .16 M . . . . . . 2% . . . . 9 M . . . . . . 2% . . . 3 M . . . . . . . 1%
6 (6) . . Windows Phone .16 M . . . . . . 2% . . . . 5 M . . . . . . 1% . . . 2 M . . . . . . . 1%
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 M . . . . . . 2%
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . 687 M . . . . . . .. . . . 486 M . . . . . . . . . . . 298 M
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

Android powered two out of every three smartphones sold in 2012, and Apple’s iOS was in one out of five. Symbian tumbles from third to fourth, and Blackberry recaptures 3rd spot. Samsung’s bada continues to outsell the Windows Phone. Next, let’s look at the installed base of smartphone platforms globally:

INSTALLED SMARTPHONES USER BASE BY OPERATING SYSTEM AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2012

Rank . OS Platform . . . . Units . . . Share . . . . .  Was Q3 2012
1 . . . . Android . . . . . . . 688 M . . . 53 % . . . . . . ( 48 %)
2 . . . . iOS . . . . . . . . . 254 M . . . 19 % . . . . . . ( 19 %)
3 . . . . Symbian . . . . . . 191 M . . . 15 % . . . . . . ( 18 %)
4 . . . . Blackberry . . . . 104 M . . . . 8 % . . . . . . ( 9 %)
5 . . . . bada . . . . . . . . . . 26 M . . . 2 % . . . . . . ( 2 %)
6 . . . . Windows Phone . 22 M . . . 2 % . . . . . . ( 1 %)
7 . . . . Windows Mobile . . 7 M . 0.5 % . . . . . . ( 1 %)
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 M . . . 1 % . . . . . . ( 1 %)
TOTAL Installed Base . . 1,310 M smartphones in use at end of 2012
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

Android has now passed the half-point where more than half of all smartphones in use worldwide are running Google’s operating system. Apple is on the brink of reaching one in five smartphones. Nokia’s Symbian keeps falling as the older Symbian phones are traded in. iPhones, Symbian and Blackberry based smartphones have a long afterlife in the second hand market and as hand-me-downs (which are included in these numbers). The installed base of smartphones is now 1.31 Billion smartphones, almost as many as total installed base of all types of personal computers in use.

QUARTERLY SALES
Now let’s turn to the more intense and volatile quarterly battle in the Bloodbath Year Three: Digital Jamboree. Here are the final fourth quarter results:

TEN BIGGEST SMARTPHONE MAKERS IN Q4 2012 BY UNITS SALES

Rank . . Manufacturer . Units . . . Market Share . Was in Q3 of 2012 . . OS supported (coming),[ending]
1 (1) . . . Samsung . . . 63.9 M . . 29.7 % . . . . . .( 32.8 %) . . . . . . . . . Android, bada, Windows, (Tizen)
2 (2) . . . Apple . . . . . . 47.8 M . . 22.2 % . . . . . . ( 15.7 %) . . . . . . . . . iOS
3 (3) . . . Huawei . . . . . 20.2 M . . . 9.4 % . . . . . . ( 9.3 %) . . . . . . . . . Android, (Tizen)
4 (5) . . . ZTE . . . . . . . 12.4 M . . . 5.8 % . . . . . . ( 4.7 %) . . . . . . . . . Android, Windows, (Firefox)
5 (9) . . . Lenovo . . . . . . 9.4 M . . . 4.4 % . . . . . . ( 4.1 %) . . . . . . . . . Android
6 (4) . . . Sony . . . . . . . 8.7 M . . . 4.0 % . . . . . . ( 5.1 %) . . . . . . . . . Android
7 (8) . . . LG . . . . . . . . . 8.6 M . . . 4.2 % . . . . . . ( 4.2 %) . . . . . . . . . Android
8 (6) . . . HTC . . . . . . . . 7.0 M . . . 3.3 % . . . . . . ( 4.6 %) . . . . . . . . . Android, Windows
9 (7) . . . RIM . . . . . . . . 6.9 M . . . 3.2 % . . . . . . ( 4.3 %) . . . . . . . . . Blackberry
10 (10) . Nokia . . . . . . . 6.6 M . . . 3.1 % . . . . . . ( 3.7 %) . . . . . . . . . Windows, [Symbian], [MeeGo]
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . 23.6 M . . 10.9 % . . . . . . ( 11.6 %) . . . . . . . . . Android, Windows, others, (Tizen), (Sailfish)
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . 215.1 M
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

The total smartphone quarterly sales passed the 200 million units per quarter level for the first time ever – it was just 21 months ago, in first quarter of 2011, that the industry passed the 100 million sales per quarter. The smartphone market grew 25% into the Christmas sales quarter from Q3, and on year-on-year growth, the smartphone market grew 36% from Q4 of 2011. As we are just on the brink of the number, I am no longer certain we will pass the 1 Billion smartphone sales level annually for this new year 2013, we might end this year selling something like 950 million smartphones. As to mobile phone handset migration from dumbphones to smartphones globally, we are now at the point in Q4, 2012, where 45% of all phones sold worldwide are smartphones.

Movers and Shakers
The big mover is Lenovo, jumping up from 9th place where they appeared last Quarter as they joined the Top 10 and pushed Motorola out of the Top 10 for the first time ever. While Lenovo is only ramping up sales outside of China (having entered India, Russia, Indonesia etc) their total sales bring Lenovo already into the Top 5 (dropping Sony out of the Top 5 where it was briefly last Quarter, ranked 4th).The rest of the chart is minor jockeying. The Top 3 are settled into Samsung, Apple and Huawei. ZTE and LG saw a change of one place, RIM and HTC moved two places.

Nokia barely held onto its last place finish in the Top 10, as the 10th. Nokia is being chased by Chinese Yulong/Coolpad, who may well have passed Nokia in unit sales now in Q1 of 2013 as the Chinese celebrate New Year gift-giving. Furthermore, Nokia is having trouble delivering new Windows Phone 8 based updated Lumia smartphones in volume and mostly missed the Chinese New Year sales period. Yulong is ranked one of the bestselling Chinese smartphone brands domestically but I estimated their global sales at 6.1 million for Q4. Now let’s look at the smartphone operating systems:

BIGGEST SMARTPHONE OPERATING SYSTEMS BY UNIT SALES IN Q4 2012

Rank . OS Platform . . . . Units . . . . Market share . Was Q3 2012
1 (1) . . Android . . . . . . . 147.3 M . . 68.5 % . . . . . ( 70.7 %)
2 (2) . . iOS . . . . . . . . . . 47.8 M . . 22.2 % . . . . . ( 15.7 %)
3 (3) . . Blackberry . . . . . . 6.9 M . . .. 3.2 % . . . . . ( 4.3 %)
4 (6) . . Windows Phone . . 5.7 M . . .. 2.6 % . . . . . ( 1.9 %)
5 (4) . . bada . . . . . . . . . . 3.1 M . . .. 1.4 % . . . . . ( 3.0 %)
6 (5) . . Symbian . . . . . . . 2.2 M . . .. 1.0 % . . . . . ( 2.0 %)
Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1 M . . .. 1.0 % . . . . . ( 2.3 %)
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215.1 M
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

The ecosystem battle is settled now, Android rules the new computing world selling on more than two out of every three smartphones sold. Apple is the clear number 2. These two have now taken 90% of the total smartphone market. The race among the others is truly for the scraps, with Blackberry now in the driver’s seat having finally launched the BB10 OS platform and finding renewed market attraction. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is just about as big a flop as Windows Phone 7 was, over Windows Phone 6, over Windows Mobile… The Microsoft OS has fluctuated in the near-irrelevant scale where most other OS platforms go to die, from a low of 1.0% to a peak of 3.0% and currently holds 2.6%.

Year 2013 brings new vigor to the bottom end of this battle. On Mobile World Congress 2013 we expect to see that Samsung is replacing bada with Tizen. With many other handset makers committed to Tizen (including Huawei), Tizen is the strongest of the newcomers. Ubuntu, Firefox and Sailfish are all coming too this year to a pocket near you. We’ll monitor those as we move from Bloodbath Year Three, Digital Jamboree to start Bloodbath Year Four, Smartphones Galore.

SMARTPHONE MANUFACTURERS IN 2012
This is our list of Top 10 smartphone manufacturers in 2012 and their rankings. First up, its Sammy…

1ST – SAMSUNG – 215.0 Million Smartphones, 31.3% Share
Grew 221% from 2011, profitable – A+
Last 8 quarters market share: 13% – 16% – 21% – 23% – 31% – 33% – 33% – 30%

Samsung follows up a banner year 2011 with a blow-out year 2012, doing everything perfectly. Wherever Nokia dropped some candy, Samsung was there to snatch it up. Where rivals missed opportunities, Sammy pounced. Where Apple left openings, you found Galaxies. Galaxy Note, Galaxy Beam, Galaxy Camera, Samsung was the poster child for glamour and cool in mobile, yet managed to serve smartphones to the very low end of the price pyramid with its proprietary entry-level bada OS (the most successful smartphone OS launch in the history of this industry, yes selling more in its first two years than Apple’s iPhone).

SAMSUNG SMARTPHONES SOLD IN Q3 BY OPERATING SYSTEM
Samsung on Android . . . . . . . .94%
Samsung on bada . . . . . . . . . . 5%
Samsung on Windows Phone . . 1%
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

Samsung was the fifth biggest smartphone maker two years ago. It fought its way to second biggest last year – doing this profitably, and now jumps ahead of Apple, growing from year 2011 by 221% and finishing with smartphone sales of 215 million, and 58% bigger than number 2, Apple in smartphones. And Samsung did this all profitably, while preparing to launch its new OS, Tizen for 2013. What Samsung did in smartphones in the past two years, is similar to what Nokia did to Motorola in digital phones 15 years ago, or what Apple did to Sony in portable music players a decade ago. Ironically, Samsung was able to spank both of these competitive masters, Nokia and Apple, in the process. Behold the new home electronics master, if Samsung continues at this rate, it will be more than twice as big as its nearest rivals in the smartphone business by year-end. This is perfection in the execution of a smartphone strategy, not one tiniest stumble in the whole year. Samsung earns an A+

2ND – APPLE – 135.8 Million Smartphones, 19.8% Share
Grew 46% from 2011, profitable, B
Last 8 quarters market share 18% – 19% – 14% – 24% – 24% – 17% – 16% – 22%

Apple seems to have peaked a year ago, when it was hitting 24% market shares quarterly. Now it only manages to get to a 22% level. This is still very powerful sales and market share performance, Apple is a clear number 2 in the smartphone races, and ludicrously profitable doing so – but its market gobbling growth path has stalled. Now Apple is in anemic growth stage, as it tries to find ever more elusive markets for its high-priced iPhone models. It’s about time to release lower-cost iPhones to address the mass markets in the Emerging World where most smartphone business will be made.

The latest iPhone model, the iPhone 5 was received with far less excitement and amazement as previous major releases, and the iPhone screen size and camera etc., are falling behind the leaders to an alarming degree. Apple still has the highest loyalty in the industry but the gap to the competition is shrinking and Apple’s unique sales points are losing some of their luster. Blackberry finally has its iPhone-clone built on its new BB10 OS, the Windows Phone OS under WP8 is ‘competitive’; totally new and better OS platforms are launching in 2013 like Tizen and Sailfish (both evolutions of Nokia’s abandoned MeeGo). Apple is squeezed now from all sides, with massive screen sizes like Huawei’s 6 inch screens, and enormous cameras like Nokia’s 41 megapixel PureView 808 (coming to Lumia) etc. But Apple has the chance now to split its product range, offer a lower-cost ‘Nano’ iPhone and introduce a bigger screen monster iPhone in the $1,000 price stratosphere to own once again the top of the price pyramid (before Samsung does that too).

Apple had a very profitable year, it became the most valuable company on the planet etc. That is irrelevant to THIS contest. That is a battle for 2012. This is the race for the decade. He who owns the smartphone space in 2020, owns every consumer’s identity, wallet, behavior, and value. Apple is fighting to win the wrong war right now. What really matters in the Smartphone Bloodbath – is to have market share and doing it profitably. Apple is satisfying short-term profit greed at the cost of long-term market share gains. I grade Apple’s monstrously profitable, but anemic market share growth year only as a B.

3RD – HUAWEI – 55.2 Million Smartphones, 8.0% Market Share
Grew 276% from 2011 profitable, B+
Last 8 quarters market share 3% – 4% – 5% – 5% – 5% – 7% – 9% – 9%

Get familiar with this name as the growth trajectory is very strong, as is their market grabbing strategy. Chinese Huawei is now a Top 3 telecoms infrastructure vendor (competing with Ericsson and NokiaSiemens Networks) and a Top 3 smartphone maker. They have been very successful in using synergies between the two divisions to help sell more smartphones, bundling some with their network deals, especially in emerging world markets. Huawei often also has its phones sold under carrier/operator brands, so the big analyst houses often undercount the total sales of handsets by Huawei. Yet all the major analyst houses agree that Huawei has indeed become the third biggest smartphone maker.

Essentially all of Huawei’s smarpthone sales are currently on Android. They have been a Windows Phone partner but a very reluctant one, as Microsoft has seemed unwilling to even acknowledge them. However Huawei is now releasing the cheapest Windows Phone smartphones by any manufacturer, to launch into the Africa market. They may start to pose a real rival to Nokia within the miniscule Windows ecosystem in smartphones. The more interesting play is Tizen, Huawei is committed to launching its first Tizen smartphones this year 2013 and that platform is a real contender for ‘third ecosystem’ as it has major carriers supporting it; from NTT DoCoMo to Orange to Vodafone to Sprint to SK Telecom as well as many major handset manufacturers in the alliance led by Samsung and Intel. Tizen has the real potential to grow to become the major alternative to Google’s Android, and if so, Huawei is particularly well poised to capitalize on that opportunity.

Of its 2012 business, Huawei has been squeezing ultra-slim profits out of its business, preferring market share gains to profits. Its handset unit is barely profitable, but being so, this is viable business and Huawei has shown very strong growth, jumping from 8th place in 2011 to 3rd place now. Huawei is graded as a B+.

4TH – NOKIA – 35.0 Million Smartphones, 5.1% Share
Shrunk 55% from 2011, loss-making, F-
Last 8 quarters market share 24% – 16% – 14% – 13% – 8% – 7% – 4% – 3%
Nokia is a total wreck. Nokia towered over its rivals only 24 months ago, twice as big as its nearest rivals. In 2010 the company grew more in than Apple, RIM and Samsung, meaning Nokia was pulling away from the competition, the gap to the rivals was growing, not shrinking. Nokia sold 100 million smartphones in 2010 and did this with increasing profits and increasing profitability. This was done using the old Symbian OS which Nokia was about to replace with the MeeGo OS. New CEO Stephen Elop decided that when you are twice as big as your nearest rivals, highly profitable and growing faster than your rivals – that is so bad, as you stand on a ‘burning platform’ and Nokia had to abandon this degree of ‘failure’ and instead select the least successful, most undesirable, bug-filled and risky platform, Windows for its smartphones – a move that had destroyed every other company that ever tried this moronic move in mobile and beyond.

Immediately after announcing this mad misadventure, Nokia plunged into a global sales collapse. Nokia’s market share of 29% in Q4 of 2010 fell to 12% in Q4 of 2011 – literally a world record collapse of a global market leader. Not only was this worse than any other handset industry failure like Palm, Motorola, Siemens and Blackberry, this is literally the worst collapse of a market leader of any industry, ever. Worse than Coca-Cola disaster with the New Coke. Worse than the brake recalls with Toyota. When it comes to financial impact, this made worse damage to the market share and revenues and profits of the company than even the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (BP). This is the world’s worst failure by corporate management of any Fortune 500 sized company that was a leader of its industry. Yes, Nokia’s CEO established a world record in failure with his strategy. Then, not content to hold the world record for management failure, Elop decided to make matters worse, and mismanaged Nokia so badly in 2012, that he set a new record in failure for 2012! He plunged Nokia’s mid-tier 12% market share in Q4 of 2012 down to what it is now as 3% for Q4 of 2012. He took a world record in failure, and decided it was not enough, he broke his own world record for failure. Stephen Elop will go down as the name of the most self-destructive CEO in the economic history of corporate governance.

At one point in the year, Q3 of 2012, Nokia produced a 49% loss per smartphone sold. The transition from Symbian to Windows was promised by Elop in his February 11, 2011 strategy call to be a 1-to-1 transition. Instead he has scared away 17 out of every 20 customers he tried to migrate to Windows. Of the remaining 3 who were duped into taking a Lumia branded Windows Phone smartphone, two out of three hate their phones so much, they will never take another Windows Phone again (says the latest Bernstein survey of consumer satisfaction). This mirrors earlier Yankee Group survey that among Lumia buyers, four out of ten rate the phone the worst they’ve ever seen. The Lumia series has seen the world’s most expensive marketing push by Nokia (more than twice as much marketing dollars than the previous record) added to by the biggest marketing pushes by carriers like the biggest ever launch budget by AT&T. Microsoft threw literally billions more into the pot, including handing out free Xbox 360 consoles to some buyers of flagship Lumia products. Nokia gave out tens of thousands of free handsets to ‘thought leaders’ and then engaged with a dirty tricks squad together with Microsoft to go astroturf blogs and intimidate anyone who tried to write anything critical of the Lumia series. Nokia and Microsoft were caught paying volunteers to go write glowing review of Lumias etc.

All this was for nothing. The Lumia series has the lowest satisfaction of any Nokia smartphones ever. The Lumia series prices collapse within weeks of new models being launched. 17 out of 20 loyal Nokia customers were already been scared away, and of the remaining 3, two are eager to run away at the first chance they get. That means only 1 out of 20, yes 5% of Nokia’s remaining customer base is loyal enough to buy another Nokia smartphone at some point in the future. No wonder Elop is so much in panic, he is now trying to convince analysts that his featurephones running S40 basic phone OS, are somehow ‘smartphones’ simply because Elop says so.

NOKIA SMARTPHONES SOLD IN Q3 BY OPERATING SYSTEM
Nokia smartphones on Windows Phone . . . . 67%
Nokia smartphones on Symbian/Meego . . . . 33%
Source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2013. This data may be freely used and repeated

What can we say about Nokia? When you go from selling 104 million smartphones profitably to selling 35 million at massive losses, the question is not "was this a disastrous performance," the question becomes, why is the CEO still in charge? Is the Board of Nokia in collusion? The Board of Nokia should also be investigated for breaches to its fiduciary duty. In the past year, Nokia fell from selling 77 million smartphones to 35 million, literally collapsing sales by falling to less than half in just one year – a year when the industry grew by 41%. And Nokia’s losses? During 2012 the losses in the smartphone unit only increased. I wish I could give Nokia a grade worse than F – but all I can do is give an F- for failing.

5TH – ZTE – 34.9 Million Smartphones, 5.1% Share
Grew 232% from 2011, loss-making, C
Last 8 quarters market share 2% – 3% – 3% – 4% – 4% – 5% – 5% – 6%

China’s ZTE is struggling to keep up with its cross-town rival Huawei and other hungry younger Chinese smartphone makers, especially Lenovo and Yulong/Coolpad. It failed to meet its sales targets for 2012 and found the smartphone wars costly pushing the handset unit into loss-making. ZTE is still a Top 5 sized smartphone maker, and missed passing Nokia for the full year 2012 sales by a hair (in the latest Quarterly data, ZTE is far ahead of Nokia already so for year 2013 it won’t be even close). ZTE is now testing a new OS platform Firefox for 2013 and is hoping to recapture the profitable sales pattern it had before. Because they grew but went from profits to loss-making, I rate ZTE now a C for 2012.

6TH – BLACKBERRY (ex-RIM) – 33.2 Million Smartphones, 4.8% Share
Shrunk 37% from 2011, profitable – D
Last 8 quarters market share 14% – 12% – 9% – 9% – 8% – 5% – 4% – 3%
The company formerly known as RIM or Research In Motion, which recently renamed itself Blackberry, out of Canada, just after everyone thought it can’t get worse than the company did in 2011, has seen its Annus Horribilis in 2012. Blackberry’s collapse in smartphones ranks only as the 6th worst crash in the history of mobile phone handsets. And while the fall did push RIM/Blackberry into loss-making, that is now over, the company is back to generating profits. Its peak market share of 22% is now down to 3%, but finally, after a long wait and delays to the launch, the new OS, BB10 is finally released with the first two smartphone models launched, to very warm reception and high demand. Blackberry’s worst days are past. Can the Canadian smartphone maker now turn this around and find growth once again to the iconic smartphone pioneer – remains to be seen in 2013. I grade RIM’s year 2012 as a D, barely passing grade, due to the strong finish and return to profitability.

7TH – SONY – 31.9 Million Smartphones, 4.6% Share
Grew 42% from 2011, profitable, B-
Last 8 quarters market share 5% – 5% – 6% – 6% – 5% – 5% – 5% – 4%

The smartphone maker formerly known as SonyEricsson, and a perennial loss-maker, was bought out by Sony and now has returned to healthy profits once again. The CEO says the company’s future is in mobile and the company has set as a target to become a Top 3 smartphone maker. For a while in 2012, there was also a sales trajectory suggesting Sony might achieve that, but then the big Chinese makers zoomed past. The market is rushing to low-end smartphones and if Sony is serious about a Top 3 bid, it better learn soon from Samsung and Huawei, and rush a low-end Sony smartphone series, not just the top-end Xperia models to compete with the iPhones. Sony does hold many strong assets it may be bringing to bear, starting with the PlayStation brand that could sit very well with a highly desirable youth smartphone.

For its 2012 performance, as Sony grew, but only at the pace of the industry, it’s ok performance, not excellence. As Sony pulled out of loss-making and is once again profitable in smartphones, I grade Sony’s year 2012 as a B-.

8TH – HTC – 31.5 million Smartphones, 4.6% Share
Shrunk 30% from 2011, profitable, C-
Last 8 quarter market share – 10% – 11% – 10%- 6% – 5% – 6% – 5% – 3%

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC was the fourth biggest smartphone manufacturer only two years ago, but it seemed to lose the plot. HTC was the biggest Android smartphone maker (and the biggest Window Mobile smartphone maker) but soon upstarts on Android like Samsung and Huawei shot past HTC while the Windows Phone nightmare drained efforts on that dead platform. HTC was often featured with promising cutting edge technology like the 16MPixel camera and high speed ’4G’ technology, yet its user experience was regularly poor and loyalty very bad. Hence HTC’s growth stalled and its market share started to dip heading into 2012. In the past year HTC unit sales fell by 30%. The company is still profitable but it seems every news item about HTC consists of warnings of ever shrinking profits. As the company is still viable (i.e. profitable) I can’t grade it below a C, but because of the severe collapse of its market share, HTC earns a C-.

9TH – LG – 27.6 Million Smartphones, 4.2% Share
Grew 18% from 2011, profitable, C+
Last 8 quarters market share 5% – 5% – 5% – 5% – 4% – 4% – 4% – 4%

South Korean LG was deeply in the red in its smartphone misery with the perilous Windows detour, but recovered and now safely on Android, is on the mend. LG grew smartphone sales in 2012, but at a slower rate than the industry, only 18% for the year. LG is a contender in the mid-pack of the Top 10 and where others like Nokia, RIM and HTC are stumbling, with LG now solidly on Android and profitable growth, 2013 could be the year of strong resurgence. But its 2012 performance is only a passing grade. A C+.

10TH – LENOVO – 24.9 Million Smartphones, 3.6% Share
Grew (enormously from tiny base) and is profitable, A
Market share past 4 quarters 2% – 3% – 4% – 4%

Welcome to the big leagues Lenovo. The company that bought IBM’s PC business and then looked at the iPhone, and decided to offer the Chinese market the LePhone, is now aiming for the world. They left Chinese domestic shores only in five months ago and now are s