One in two smartphones sold in the world is made by either Samsung or Apple.

The latest research by Gartner shows that the two companies control 52% of the market - but that there is no clear number three.

More than 1.75 billion mobile phones were sold in 2012, slightly down on 2011. But smartphones were up by 38%, to 207.7 million units.

Samsung secured the top spot with 64.5 million smartphones sold in the last quarter of 2012, up 85% on 2011.

Apple also saw its sales rise, selling 22.6% more phones in the last quarter than 2011.

In operating systems Android is the clear leader, with a massive 69.7% of the market, with Apple in second at 20.9% - down slightly from last year.

In third place was China's Huawei, which sold more than 27 million devices in 2012. But it is closely followed by many competitors, including Nokia, BlackBerry, LG, ZTE and Sony.

BlackBerry was third place in terms of operating systems, for instance - with just 3.5% of the market.

"There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the No. 3 spot in global smartphone sales," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products. Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand."