It’s Down To Apple Vs. Samsung In The Smartphone Wars

apple sign, logo, grand central apple store opening, december 9 2011, bi, dng

[credit provider=”Daniel Goodman / Business Insider”]

This post originally appeared at 24/7 Wall St. HTC, Motorola (NYSE: MMI), LG and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) might as well curtail their efforts in the smartphone arena. The industry has only two companies left with the ongoing opportunity for extremely large sales — Samsung and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

A new study from Strategy Analytics shows that in the fourth quarter Apple shipped 37 million smartphones and overtook Samsung to become once again the world’s number one smartphone vendor by volume. Global sales of smartphones were up 54% to 155 million units. Between Apple and Samsung, sales were almost 74 million for the period — nearly half of the total.

Samsung announced its fourth-quarter earnings about the same time as Strategy Analytics released its figures. Its net income rose 17% over last year’s quarter to $3.6 billion. Over the course of 2011, the South Korean company shipped 300 million handsets. Apple’s recently announced earnings were even more impressive.

Read the rest of the story at 24/7 Wall St.