Mobile Devices

February 13, 2013

Huawei Becomes Third Major Smartphone Maker

Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei is now the third top smartphone maker in the word behind Samsung and Apple.

Sales of the company’s smartphones grew by 74 percent over the previous year. Huawei sold approximately 27 million smartphones in 2012.

“There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales,”Anshul Gupta, a principal research analyst at the research firm Gartner, said.

 “The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand.”

Samsung and Apple still clearly dominate smartphone sales worldwide. Together, they made up 52 percent of smartphone sales last year.

Huawei’s success comes as sales of smartphones fell, the first time since 2009. Sales of smartphones were 264 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, a decrease of 19 percent year-over-year.

Sales of “feature phones” which share some of the features of smartphones, but lack the operating systems such as Android and iOS, will continue to fall. As smartphones get cheaper and more powerful, it appears they will enter the lower end of the mobile phone market, driving out feature phones which rely on proprietary firmware.

The mobile market will only get more competitive as companies vie for third place.

"2013 will be the year of the rise of the third ecosystem as the battle between the new BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone intensifies," Gupta said.

"As carriers and vendors feel the pressure of the strong Android's growth, alternative operating systems such as Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and Jolla will try and carve out an opportunity by positioning themselves as profitable alternatives."

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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