By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
February 3, 2012

Total annual global shipments exceeded PCs (including tablets) for the first time in 2011

Canalys singled out Apple (AAPL) for special mention Friday when it announced that by its count, shipments of smartphones in 2011 overtook those of client computers, even when tablets are included.

“Apple’s impressive end to the year resulted in it becoming the leading smart phone and client PC vendor in Q4 2011, with shipments of 37.0 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs. It also smashed the record for the most smart phones shipped globally by any single vendor in one quarter, beating Nokia’s previous record of 28.3 million shipped in Q4 2010. Moreover, Apple’s performance meant that it displaced Nokia, for the first time, as the leading smart phone vendor by annual shipments. Apple shipped 93.1 million iPhones in 2011, representing growth of 96% over 2010. The iPhone 4S benefitted from pent-up demand resulting from the launch coming in October rather than June, but Apple’s overall volume was also buoyed by continued shipments of the now more aggressively priced iPhone 4 and 3GS models.”

For the year, according to the analytics firm, total smartphone shipments reached 488.0 million units, up 63% on the 299.7 million shipped in 2010. By comparison, the PC market grew 15% in 2011 to 414.6 million units, with 274% growth in tablet shipments. Tablets, which Canalys calls “pads,”  accounted for 15% of all client PC shipments in 2011.

Below the fold: Two more Canalys spreadsheets showing Apple’s smartphone growth in fourth quarter and the year against that of Google’s (GOOG) Android.

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