Chinese phone maker Huawei is officially the 'new HTC' -- a formerly obscure manufacturer catapulted into the big leagues by making great value Android mobiles. New figures from industry analyst IDC show Huawei sold more phones in the last quarter of 2012 -- the most important part of the year -- than anyone bar Samsung and Apple.
In doing so, Huawei relegated big names such as HTC and LG, and leapfrogged Sony, which was incredibly pleased with itself when, in the third quarter of last year, it captured third spot. Sony was the fourth biggest phone maker for the period, with ZTE -- another Chinese company -- in fifth.
The scrap for third spot, however, is like a bunch of bald men fighting over a comb -- Apple and Samsung are miles ahead of the rest, splitting more than half the market between them.
IDC's figures show Samsung sold a staggering 216 million smart phones in 2012, a hair under 40 per cent of the entire market. Apple followed with a not-inconsiderable 137 million iPhones, or 25 per cent. Nokia, HTC and RIM made up the rest of the top five for the full year, with a mere 18 per cent shared between them.
Huawei, like HTC before it, made (and continues to make) branded phones and dongles for other companies, such as phone networks, but has become a successful phone maker in its own right by offering well-priced alternatives to high-end mobiles.
Its Ascend G300 was one of our very favourite phones of 2012 -- a 4-inch Android phone with enough power to run smoothly, a great screen and best of all a sub-£100 price tag.
Rumours are swirling over a 6.1-inch behemoth called the Huawei Acscend Mate, a cheaper rival to the palm-stretching Samsung Galaxy Note 2. We expect to see Huawei's giganto-phone make its debut at Mobile World Congress in a month's time.
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