Smart_PhonesOver the past several years, smartphones have become not just something cool to own, but a must-have digital accessory. In addition to traditional phone calls, these devices allow text messaging and e-mail communication, and perhaps more importantly, the smartphones of today provide you with a sort of mini-tablet computer. Indeed, larger screens and faster processors make smartphones the go-to device for social networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as for navigation and mapping functions.

The strong demand from consumers for faster, bigger and better smartphones from Apple (AAPL), Samsung, and Microsoft (MSFT) has unleashed a virtual war between the biggest smartphone makers for market share, but just who is winning that war?

To find out, I looked at the latest smartphone industry survey conducted by 451 Research’s ChangeWave service.

According to the group’s December survey findings, there’s been an explosive wave of buying momentum catapultingChangeWave Samsung Chart1 Samsung to an all-time high in the North American smartphone market. “Consumer buying intent for Samsung smartphones has been extraordinary to start the year,” said Paul Carton, of 451 Research’s ChangeWave service. “Considering the Galaxy S III has been out for several months we’d normally expect a slowdown by now – but it’s still red hot,” added Carton. The December survey of 4,061 respondents also looked at mobile operating systems, and found a few other surprising results.

For investors, the battle for smartphone supremacy is an investable event—if you know which stocks stand to benefit most.

Here are 5 stocks set to win the smartphone wars.