The number of smartphone shipments exceeded 200 million globally in Q4 2012, with the annual total reaching 671 million, representing a growth of almost 42 per cent year-on-year, according to mobile analyst firm, Juniper Research.
One in three mobile shipments for the year was by Samsung -- shipping 63 million smartphones and accounting for more than 30 per cent of all smartphone shipments in the quarter.
It claimed the sales of the Galaxy S3 drove the company's growth, with sales surpassing 40 million in November 2012.
On the other hand, despite the festive season and iPhone 5 sales, Apple posted lower than expected iPhone sales at around 47.8 million, still a record quarter for the company.
Juniper Research said the company faces big challenges with Samsung leading the market, stating Apple will need to continue focussing on innovation, whilst retaining its brand leadership.
Nokia shipped 6.6 million smart devices in the fourth quarter, with the new Lumia device line still to make a significant impact with shipments of 4.4 million.
However, Nokia's Symbian based handsets experienced a large decline, reaching 2.2 million. Overall, the company made a $3 billion loss for the year, but posted a profit of $586 million for Q4 2012. Smartphone shipments reached 35 million in 2012 compared to just over 77 million in 2011, down by 54 per cent.
RIM's recent results -- which run to a different financial schedule -- are expected to account for almost 6.7 million smartphone shipments for Q4 and over 31 million for the year.
Juniper Research said the company will struggle to gain back a significant market share in 2013 even with the upcoming launch of BlackBerry 10 and a new line of smartphones.
Huawei posted sales revenues of more than $35 billion, with the introduction of a range of new smartphones and tablets. The company introduced over 23 models of smartphone devices and is estimated to have shipped almost 20 million smartphones in 2012.
Juniper Research also reported that while other smartphone vendors, including LG and ZTE, have managed to maintain their smartphone market shares, they are still facing challenges when competing against the premium brands.