In 2012, a record of 700 million units has been shipped across the globe with Samsung and Apple owning half of the market, according to the new research of Strategy Analytics.
Reckoned from the global smartphone shipment in 2011 which reached 490.5 million units, the 2012 figures logged a 43 per cent growth rate. However, it failed to break the 64 per cent growth rate in 2010.
According to the research, saturation in the North America and Western Europe markets slowed the growth last year.
"Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels, and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to tighten their grip on the smartphone industry," the market researcher posted in a blog.
Thirty per cent of the market was captured by Samsung with 213 million smartphone units shipped worldwide and it blew away the previous record held by Nokia in 2010 of 100 million smartphones shipped.
Samsung has a wide range of phone models from their expensive Galaxy Note 2 phone-tablet hybrid to the less expensive Galaxy Young.
Galaxy Note 2 boasts of a large 5.5 inches of screen display with sharp and crisp detail, multi-tasking screen view, the S Pen capability of live editing and sketching, powerful quad-core processor, and a strong battery for longer performance.
Apple captured 19 percent of the market with 135.8 million units shipped last year, and it is a 46 percent increase compared to 2011. The iPhone enjoyed high demand in North America but researchers said that Apple units are limited in developing markets such as Africa.
The iPhone 5 offered 18 per cent thinner, 20 per cent lighter and 12 per cent less volume compared to its previous generation with a larger display, faster processing chip and 8MP iSight camera.
The third spot is still under Nokia but from 16 per cent of total market share, the company is down to 5 per cent only. The Nokia Windows Phone Lumia 920 has received significant positive impact and reviews, yet it is not considered as an iPhone or Galaxy S3 killer.
Nokia Lumia 920 brings out new technology together with the Microsoft Windows Phone OS. It has PureView technology empowered by Carl Zeiss optics for blur-free captures, PureMotion HD+ display for brighter, faster, and sensitive touch response, and wireless charging.
Spectators are watching very closely for the upcoming devices from this Top 3 and the return of the fourth operating system maker, Research in Motion with Blackberry 10.