Apple and Samsung's share of the global smartphone market has grown, despite an a slight dip in all handset sales, according to research firm Gartner.
Gartner reported that Apple's and Samsung's combined share of the market grew to 52 percent in the last three months of 2012, up from the 46.4 percent figure recorded in Q3.
Samsung remained the world's top selling mobile and smartphone maker, boasting 64.5 million sales in the quarter. The figure marks an 85.3 percent increase in the sales figures recorded in the Q4 2011.
Apple, meanwhile, sold 43.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012, marking a more modest 22.6 percent year-on-year increase.
Principal research analyst at Gartner, Anshul Gupta attributed the increase to Apple and Samsung's strong marketing and brand recognition.
"The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products," said Gupta.
"Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers."
But while Samsung and Apple made hay, others suffered, with overall phone sales, including feature phones, dipping 1.7 percent year-on-year from 1.77bn in 2011 to 1.74bn in 2012.
Gupta attributed the lull in sales to difficult economic conditions.
"The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009," said Gupta.
"Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year."
Android remained the most widely used mobile operating system, with 69.7 percent of all smartphones sold running the OS, up from 53.1 percent in 2011.
Second place Apple's share shrunk from 23.6 percent to 20.9 percent.
BlackBerry and Microsoft continued to battle for third position with, the BlackBerry OS controlling 3.5 percent of the market and Windows Phone three percent.
Gupta said that competition for the third place position will intensify in 2013 as underdog ecosystems like Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and Firefox OS attempt to carve their own share of the space.
"2013 will be the year of the rise of the third ecosystem as the battle between the new BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone intensifies," said Gupta.
"As carriers and vendors feel the pressure of the strong Android's growth, alternative operating systems such as Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and Jolla will try and carve out an opportunity by positioning themselves as profitable alternatives."
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