Trying to count who sold the most smartphones is a difficult business. That’s mostly due to Samsung’s decision to stop releasing unit sales figures for its smartphone sales. The company has taken to releasing sales growth percentages, and market research firms are basing projections of how many phones Samsung shipped last quarter and all of last year on these percentages.
On Friday, IHS iSuppli is the latest to weigh in. The firm says that while Apple (s aapl) came in first place in the last calendar quarter of 2011 in smartphone sales with 37 million, Samsung actually took the crown of world’s largest smartphone vendor of the year with 95 million shipped. (That’s not “sold,” so this isn’t a great way to compare, as we’ve previously discussed, but it’s what we’ve got.) Apple sold 93 million iPhones during the year.
IHS iSuppli is basing its Samsung numbers on information gathered when the company announced its quarterly earnings earlier Friday. I asked iSuppli analyst Wayne Lam how he arrived at the number, and he said he was basing it off the “approximately 30 percent growth” figure Samsung publicly announced. He interpreted that as “under 30 percent but over 27 percent.”