Gartner: iPhone sales ‘stellar’

But Google's Android now has a quarter of the global smartphone market to Apple's 16.7%

Gartner published its worldwide mobile phone sales estimates overnight Wednesday, nearly two weeks after IDC released its survey. The results, as usual, differ in detail (see explanation below), but the broad picture is the same.

The good news for Apple (aapl) is that thanks to what Gartner called its "stellar" performance in calendar Q3, Apple has overtaken Research in Motion (rimm) to become the world's fourth-largest manufacturer not just of smartphones, but of all kinds of cell phones. (IDC got that scoop. See The iPhone is No. 4.)

The good news for Google (goog) is that sales of Android devices manufactured by Samsung, HTC, Motorola (mot), Sony (sne) and others easily outpaced Apple's iPhone sales. (See pie chart).

Below the fold: Gartner's and IDC's spreadsheets. Note that Gartner has Apple selling less than 13.5 million iPhones in calendar Q3, whereas IDC lists 14.1 million. The difference, as we understand it, is that Gartner reports sales to end users whereas IDC reports shipments into the vendor's distribution channels. In industry jargon, it's the difference between sell-through and sell-in.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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