Apple VS Samsung-4

A new report from research firm Gartner suggests that Apple and Samsung have a combined share of 52-percent of the entire global smartphone market – that's up from a combined 46.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012. In other words, every other smartphone maker on the planet is currently in the other 48-percent of the market. That's a pretty stunning figure, but it's not necessarily surprising considering the popularity of Apple's iPhone and the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note II from Samsung.

"There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales," said Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta. "The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand."

Gartner also found another stunning figure: the global smartphone sales actually declined 1.7 percent over 2011. A total of 1.75 billion units were sold in 2012. It's the first time in several years sales fell.

"The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009," Gupta said. "Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year."

Gartner added that BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone will battle for the world's third largest mobile platform this year.