Global smartphones annual sales will cross the billion-unit mark in 2014, helped by strong demand from China and the launch of cheaper low-end handsets, Credit Suisse said.

Sales across the globe will grow about 46 percent to 687.9 million units this year and will touch 1.05 billion units in 2014, the note said.

We see robust growth for the smartphone market in China, which we think will account for 22 percent of global units by 2015, analysts including Kulbinder Garcha wrote in a note.

The brokerage also expects Apple Inc to gain the most in an environment where the success in smartphones will be impacted by success in PCs and tablets.

The world's top smartphone maker will corner a 23 percent market share this year, helped by its strong distribution network, software and services platform and innovation in hardware, Credit Suisse said.

The analysts expect Nokia Corp to drive earnings recovery in 2013 and gain an 11 percent market share in the long term, based on carrier support, competitive pricing and strength in brand and distribution.

On Wednesday, the world's number three phone maker said it would post losses in the first two quarters of this year as it struggles to revamp its product portfolio to compete with Apple and Samsung.

The analysts also expects Samsung — the world's number two smartphone maker — and Huawei to gain market share.

But they said there are increasing signs of vulnerability for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc, HTC Corp and Sony Corp, and predicted a rapid decline for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

The brokerage also said wireless chipmaker Qualcomm Inc will see its license business grow 17 percent this year, and raised its price target on the stock to $80 from $70.

(Reporting by Rachana Khanzode in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)