Shipped in 2012: 671 Million Smartphones
     

The revolution continues in our relationship with our personalized, pocket-sized supercomputer infotainment centers — er, our smartphones.

Juniper Research, a mobile analyst firm, believes the number of smartphone shipments passed 200 million in the fourth quarter of last year, and that 671 million went out the door for the year, up 42% from the prior year.

This growth is one of the key background trends — dashboard systems being another — against which radio companies are trying to chart future strategies. An industry that once owned not only “audio in the dashboard” but “audio in the palm” has seen those sectors become almost unrecognizable.

The Juniper report reflects the boom in business for Samsung, which continued its “phenomenal” growth; the company accounted for 30% of all smartphone shipments in the quarter, according to the research firm, while Apple posted iPhone sales at around 47.8 million, which was below expectations if still a record quarter.

“With Samsung leading the market, Apple will need to continue focusing on innovation, whilst retaining its brand leadership,” Juniper wrote.

Among other observations, it said that RIM is expected to account for 6.7 million smartphone shipments for Q4 and over 31 million for last year. “With the release and launch of BlackBerry 10 and a new line of smartphones just a few days away, the Canadian company will struggle to gain back a significant market share in 2013.”

Nokia smartphone shipments were down significantly, while Huawei and ZTE were among “second-tier” leaders.

Read Juniper’s full summary.

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