Analytics firm IDC just released a report covering the top five smartphone vendors by shipments and market share for Q4 2011. Apple not surprisingly takes the top position. According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped 157.8 million units in Q4 2011, and 37 million were from Apple— accounting for 23.5-percent market share in the quarter.

As for competitors, the report showed Samsung was not far behind Apple with 36 million units shipped and 22.8-percent of the market worldwide. However, while taking the top position in the market thanks to the iPhone 4S launch, Apple also set a new shipment volume record for the entire industry during the quarter. The report cited the initial delay bringing the launch closer to the holiday season and the addition of new carriers as reasons for the device’s strong demand. Despite that, Samsung was still able to come out on top for FY 2011, edging Apple out by under a million units…

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Samsung finished the year as 2011’s top smartphone vendor by market lead shipping 94 million units in FY 2011, compared to Apple’s 93.2 million. Those numbers gave Samsung 19.1-percent of the market for FY 2011 and Apple 19 percent. Samsung also posted the largest year-over-year increase of 275 percent, compared to Apple’s 128.4-percent.

While stating that Apple’s iPhone 4S and Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus have received the majority of the attention in the market as “hero devices,” IDC’s Kevin Restivo said, “a growing number of sub-$250” Android devices have allowed Android vendors to rapidly increase smartphone volumes. In total, smartphone shipments during 2011 were up 61.3-percent to 491.4 million units from just 304.7 million units the year before.

NPD also released a report today stating Apple’s iPhones now account for 43 percent of all U.S. smartphone sales. Check out all NPD’s numbers here.

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