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Comeback: Nokia now 4th most popular phone brand in U.S.

While Apple and Samsung vie for first place in the race for smartphone market share, a resurgent Nokia has risen to fourth — not exactly glorious, but considering where it was this time last year, it's pretty amazing.

The latest numbers come from Counterpoint's Market Monitor, which tallies up U.S. smartphone shipments. 

The third quarter of 2012 had Nokia nearly extinct, with just 0.7 percent of the market — but one year later, the same quarter, which ended Sept. 30, saw it take a healthy 4.1 percent.

Chalk it up to the successful Lumia series of phones and constant improvement of the Windows Phone operating system from Microsoft. It'll be a while before the Lumias can challenge the iPhones and Galaxy S 4s of the world, but Finland-based Nokia is no doubt still congratulating itself on a difficult comeback.

Global numbers, however, show Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and Lenovo growing even faster: Nokia still has a long fight ahead if it's going to bring back the global presence it once enjoyed.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is