Ok so this is the report we have been waiting for from Gartner. It is based on actual sales figures for each company and is not based on shipments or on Customer surveys.

Customer surveys have become quite popular as it is easy to survey a few thousand people asking which smartphone they bought, then use the percentage share for each OS from your survey results and apply it to the reported shipments from each vendor giving you, at best, a guess at how the overall market share for each OS will be.

Why we don’t often report on these type of results here, even though some of our readers have requested we do, is for a couple of reasons. First off is that there is a huge margin for error. These surveys are only representative of a very small segment of the market and are often confined to a very small demographic. Just because a lot of people surveyed in New York bought an Android Device does not mean that people in Dublin did. The people in Dublin haven’t even been surveyed but yet these type of reports claim to have figures for Global shipments  which is completely inaccurate. Websites that are biased towards one OS or another often run stories with these figures after they come out, presenting them as being accurate figures when they are clearly not. Some great examples of this type of reporting was over the Christmas period before any of the manufacturers had released any figures. Depending on what site you read and what day it was, iOS or Android were wildly outselling each other by what ever figure the authors thought would grab the headlines.

One company is now surveying 1 million people worldwide but with 472 million Smartphones shipped last year this only represents 0.2% of the market surveyed.

Even today reading about Gartner’s report, different sites are reporting it completely differently. Most of it comes down to what side of the fence they sit on. Pro iOS sites are reporting this as a big win for Apple, while, you guessed it, Pro Android Sites are claiming the same!

We’ll present you with the accurate figures and let you decide which way things are going! What is obvious from the figures though is something we already knew. Even though the iPhone 4S may not have been received very well at launch, it shipped in crazy amounts over the last quater of 2011 which not only made Apple the largest Smartphone vendor in Q4 but for the whole year too!

So on to the figures:

While Nokia’s figures are on the decline they still shipped more phones than any other manufacturer. With the recent drive into Windows Mobile it will be interesting to see if it can start turning things around for Nokia. As you will see below in the third table, Windows Phone was still struggling to make an impact in the last quarter but the Nokia Windows Phones are more readily available now so time will tell. Apple more than doubled their sales in the last quarter, year on year leading to their bumper figures.

Samsung and Apple have both increased their sales for the whole year noticeably and while other show marginal increases, LG’s drop off has allowed Apple’s gains to push them into third place overall. RIM has increased sales which is possibly due to their continued strong showing in developing markets.

Overall Sales based on OS still have Android well out in front but it’s clear from the figures that the iPhone 4S has gone a long way to close the gap and reverse the previous trend of Android pulling further away.

Additional information is in the Gartner report “Market Share: Mobile Devices by Region and Country, 4Q11 and 2011.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1923316.

Let us know what you think of the figures below and, if you haven’t already, check out our recent guest article from Expansys.ie on Mobile OS share in Ireland



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