Japanese electronics maker Sony has cracked the top five in worldwide smartphone sales for the first time since 2006. It now stands ahead of RIM's Blackberry and Taiwan's HTC to claim the number three spot in worldwide popularity.
Sony's advance came as a surprise, though it was no surprise who was number one or two in worldwide sales. Samsung claimed the top spot because of the wide popularity of its range of Android phones. Apple is second in worldwide sales however, in terms of having the single most popular model, the iPhone wins hands-down.
According to market research company Canalys, 173.7 million smartphones were shipped in the third quarter of 2012. That's a 44 per cent year-to-year increase. Samsung shipped 55.5 million handsets followed by Apple with 26.9 million.
An effective new marketing campaign and some strong products such as the Xperia P are credited for propelling Sony to the third spot. It sold 8.8 million units and gained 5.1 per cent in market share. Canalys' equates that increase to an amazing 41.1 per cent gain year-on-year.
Sony may get another windfall from the movie, Skyfall. In the new "James Bond" film, the British agent 007, played by actor Daniel Craig is seen using the Xperia and the added cachet from product placement could boost sales even higher in the fourth quarter.
The top five was rounded out with HTC, which saw its share fall by 36.1 per cent and RIM, which, despite its well publicised struggles (largely because of its Blackberry popularity in Asia), managed to sell 7.3 million handsets in the third quarter, giving it a 4.2 per cent market share.
LG will be expected to move further up the table next quarter following the launch of its Google-branded LG Nexus smartphone, which went on sale in November. Reviewers have praised it, though it only comes in 3G and is not 4G compatible.
Separate data from IDC published on November 2 revealed that 75 per cent of all smartphones shipped (136 million) in the third quarter ran Android compared with 14.9 per cent running Apple's iOS and 2 per cent using Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile.