Huawei is one of the Chinese smartphone makers closing in on Samsung and Apple.
Gartner said that smartphone sales were driven by demand for low-cost devices in emerging markets and for affordable 4G smartphones -- market drivers that have played to the strengths of emerging brands rather than the leading players.
According to Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, these changing smartphone market dynamics mean that Chinese manufacturers are emerging as global brands.
Android continues to dominate the smartphone operating system market, with 84 percent of the market: iOS declined from 17.9 to 14.8 percent, while Windows Phone dropped from 2.5 percent to less than 1 percent as Microsoft switched strategy.
Android's dominance doesn't necessarily mean that all Android smartphone-makers are doing well though: Gartner said that profitability remains a challenge for many Android vendors, which means that new ways of making money are required.
It's also a crowded market, so Nokia's return to the smartphone/tablet arena will be no easy mission.