Android was the top dog mobile operating system globally as measured by Canalys in the fourth quarter of 2012, and Samsung was the top manufacturer.

Canalys has released its report showing that it tracked smartphone shipment estimates in over 50 countries and found that overall shipments stayed flat at around 438.1 million units, but that the smartphone sector grew by 37 percent.

Of the overall phones shipped, Android-powered devices accounted for 34 percent of the units with iOS trailing behind at 11 percent. When you break it down to just the smartphone segment, however, Android accounted for 69 percent of the 216.5 million units shipped, and Samsung enjoyed a 78 percent increase in shipments. Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Yulong all grew in triple digit percentages.

Android did take a slight hit for the quarter as the iPhone 5 started to ship and fell from a previous quarter percentage of 74 while iOS surged from 14 to 22 percent.

Where did the other operating systems place? On the global market, BlackBerry-powered handsets made up 4 percent of the market with Windows Phone sitting at around 2 percent.

The top five smartphone manufacturers globally are now Samsung, Apple, Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo.

Canalys 4th quarter 2012 report

It’s clear that the days of the feature phone are quickly coming to a close, and with Android now powering around 1-in-3 phones, it only looks set to grow even more. As more and more reports come out regarding smartphone shipments in 2012, it is becoming overwhelmingly clear that Android and Samsung are a partnership made in mobile Heaven.

The big question is if the market can indeed sustain a third, fourth or even fifth operating system. Ubuntu and Firefox are going to make a run at it, but the mountain they need to climb is definitely growing.