Smartphone sales grew 61 percent to 491.4 million units in 2011, according to a new report from IDC.
It was a huge year for phones but sales were slower than in 2010, which saw a 76 percent gain in smartphone sales.
Samsung and Apple are neck and neck for the leading market share, after a phenomenal year for Samsung.
Samsung’s unit sales grew 310 percent to 94 million phones, while Apple’s sales grew 96 percent to 93.2 million phones. That left Samsung with a 19.1 percent market share and Apple with 19 percent, according to IDC’s report.
Nokia posted a 23 percent decline, to 77.3 million units. The report talks about the potential of the new Windows phones, though their arrival in the fourth quarter wasn’t soon enough to help Nokia, which saw a 30.6 percent decline during the quarter.
HTC was up 17 percent during the fourth quarter and 100 percent through 2011.
One out of three phones shipped was a smartphone at the end of the year, according to IDC, which said the broader variety of phones available — particularly with Google’s Android software — is helping to expand the market.
“So-called ‘hero’ devices, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Apple’s iPhone 4S, garner the bulk of the attention heaped on the device type,” IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said in the release. “But a growing number of sub-$250 device offerings, based on the Android operating system, have allowed Google’s hardware partners to grow smartphone volumes and expand the market concurrently.”
An interactive graphic from IDC: