The mobile scene has had its fair share of losers in 2012, not least some of the biggest players in the business.
But for all the screw-ups, there have been some real highlights too. Whether it’s Google tightening its grip on Apple or Samsung stepping up with some truly stunning kit, this year’s mobile winners have ensured that smartphones are even better than they were just 12 months ago.
Here are the companies that really made the year in mobile one to remember.
We might have called out Samsung as one of 2012’s biggest mobile losers thanks to it being slapped with a $1 billion patent fine.
But there’s just no escaping the fact that in terms of hardware and sales, it’s been 2012’s preeminent performer.
Outselling the iPhone in the third quarter, as well as delivering handsets of impressive quality, the Galaxy S3 and Note 2 especially, the Korean giant has proved itself to be beyond pretty much every competitor.
Google’s Android now sits on a frankly mind-blowing 72.4 per cent of smartphones, according to research firm Gartner. That compares to 52.5 per cent in the same period last year (Q3).
For all the issues it’s had getting its amazing Nexus 4 into users’ hands, Google has made Android into the dominant smartphone platform, building a surely unassailable lead backed up by some stunning new products.
Yes, Maps has been a killer for Apple. But there’s just no ignoring the popularity of its iPhone 5, which shifted more than five million units in its first weekend on sale.
The competition may be stiffer than ever, but Apple has managed to keep millions on side thanks to its easy-to-use ecosystem and a design language that remains way beyond what even its closest rivals can produce.
The Chinese mobile-maker is really making waves and managed to snag fourth position in Gartner’s last chart of worldwide handset sales.
It now sells more phones than LG, RIM, Motorola and HTC, with a 3.9 per cent share of the market.
What’s more, it’s closing on Apple, which is just 1.6 points ahead. It’s been helped by making budget devices such as the Orange San Diego.
The chip-maker is behind just about every successful smartphone going. 2012 has been a great year for the San Diego-based company, its revenue from chip sales up to $13 billion, a rise of 27 per cent.
It’s now the world’s third biggest chip-manufacturer overall, up from ninth in 2010. And it’s all thanks to smartphones, with Qualcomm parts appearing in the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3.