Apple wins the 2011 smartphone battle, or perhaps Samsung, or maybe RIM...

The smartphone figures for 2011 are in. Lots of them, in fact, and they don't all correlate exactly. But we'll ignore that and declare Apple the winner. Actually Samsung. Or maybe Research in Motion. Definitely not Nokia.

Let's start at the very beginning....

First up is the shipment figures from Strategy Analytics. It states that in 2011, global smartphone shipments (not sales, remember) hit 488.5 million; up from just under 300 million in 2010 and with 155 million of these occurring in the final quarter of the year.

Juniper Research says that the global shipment figure is actually slightly less; around the 470 million mark with 149 million in 2011's final three months.

In terms of manufacturers Strategy Analytics has Apple as the winner for the quarter - 37 million shipments compared to Samsung's 36.5 million - as does Juniper (Apple 25 per cent, Samsung 21.7 per cent).

But Samsung is the overall winner for the year with 97.4 million shipments compared to 93 million from its Cupertino based rival (Strategy Analytics).

"What about Nokia?" we hear you cry. Not good news on both fronts we're afraid. SA says yearly figures down from 100.1 million to 77.3 million (smartphone shipments, nothing else) and JR says the Finnish company's smartphone shipments were down 31 per cent year-on-year in the fourth quarter.

But wait a minute, despite Juniper saying that Blackberry shipments were down 0.7 per cent for Q4, RIM has stated that "the latest results from data firm GfK show that BlackBerry was the #1 selling smartphone in the British market for the second year running...grabbing 26.3 per cent of December sales and averaging 27.7 per cent through 2011."

We know shipments and sales are two different beasts but this is clouding the water somewhat, especially given that RIM also states that its global subscriber base grew 35 per cent year-on-year in December to 75 million.

Our head hurts now and our abacus has fallen apart. We may regret saying this but we're going to need to see some more figures (preferably sales ones) before deciding who actually took the title....



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