Over a quarter of a billion smartphones shipped in Q3 2013. Compared to Q3 2012, this represents a 44 percent year-over-year increase.

The latest figures come from Canalys, an independent analyst firm which found Samsung and Apple managed to maintain their positions for smartphone shipments in Q3 2013, with market shares of 34 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Huawei, Lenovo and LG rounded out the top five.

Shipments of large-screen (5″ and above) smartphones reached their highest ever level, accounting for 22 percent of shipments (56 million units). Canalys says this trend continues to be driven mainly by Samsung, which dominates the large-screen segment. Breaking down the figure further, 66 percent of the 56 million smartphones had a 5″ display, 31 percent had screens between 5″ and 6″, and 3 percent had 6″ screens or larger.

As for the platform wars, Android and iOS shares were static sequentially. Microsoft’s Windows Phone, however, managed to increase its share of the market to 4 percent. This represents a year-over-year increase in shipments of 185 percent to 9.2 million units in Q3 2013.

More interestingly, Windows Phone placed as the second biggest OS in 19 countries, including Finland, with a 39 percent share, Vietnam (16 percent), Italy (15 percent), Thailand (11 percent), Turkey (11 percent), and Russia (8 percent).

“Nokia’s new Lumia handsets will help shore up this position in the holiday quarter, but Microsoft and Nokia must ensure that momentum is kept up well into the New Year as the acquisition goes through to completion,” Canalys Analyst Jessica Kwee said in a statement. The rise of Windows Phone during this past quarter is a trend we reported about in Europe already, but now it looks like it is more widespread than that.

Unsurprisingly, Greater China (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) again grew the most (64 percent), with nearly 100 million units shipping. The region now accounts for 39 percent of the global market. Latin America had the second highest growth rate, at 59 percent, though it is the smallest region, with 19 million units shipped.

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