Technological advances in the computer and electronics industries are moving at a rapid pace. The companies that design and produce the devices that keep people connected are some of the world's most profitable and biggest by market value. These companies produce a broad range of advanced hardware and equipment, ranging from personal computers and mobile phones to printers and networking tools. Some of them manufacture home appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and microwaves. In terms of their capabilities, all of these devices can be called tech hardware because they are light years ahead of earlier products and are packed with the latest technology.

Below we look at the 10 biggest hardware companies by 12-month trailing (TTM) revenue. Some companies outside the U.S. report profits semi-annually instead of quarterly, so the 12-month trailing data may be older than it is for companies that report quarterly. Data is courtesy of YCharts.com, unless otherwise specified. All figures are as of September 9, 2020.

Normally, Investopedia limits these 10-biggest-companies lists to ones which are publicly traded in the U.S. or Canada, either directly or through ADRs. However, two Korea-based companies -- Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930) and LG Electronics Ltd. (066570) -- are publicly traded neither in the U.S. nor in Canada. They have been included for their importance to the industry and because U.S. investors can still gain exposure to them through Korea-based ETFs. The market caps for both companies are reported below in Korean Won ($1 = ₩1,185.25 as of September 9, 2020).

Some of the stocks below are only traded over-the-counter (OTC) in the U.S., not on exchanges. Trading OTC stocks often carries higher trading costs than trading stocks on exchanges. This can lower or even outweigh potential returns.

#1 Apple Inc. (AAPL)

  • Revenue (TTM): $273.9 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $58.4 billion
  • Market Cap: $2.0 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 113.7%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ

Apple designs and manufactures mobile communication devices, personal computers, portable digital music players and digital watches. The company also sells a range of related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, music and entertainment streaming, as well as third-party digital content and applications. Apple is best known for its series of iPhones, iPads, and Mac personal computers.

#2 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930)

  • Revenue (TTM): $192.6 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $18.2 billion
  • Market Cap: ₩383.8 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 24.5%
  • Exchange: OTC

Samsung is a South Korea-based multinational electronics company that manufactures electronics and computer peripherals through various business segments. It produces semiconductors, personal computers, monitors, televisions, digital cameras, and home appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators. Samsung also produces Internet access network systems and telecommunications equipment, including mobile phones. Its Galaxy mobile phones are a major rival to Apple's iPhone models.

#3 Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. (HNHPF)

  • Revenue (TTM): $170.4 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $3.4 billion
  • Market Cap: $37.9 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 16.5%
  • Exchange: OTC

Hon Hai Precision Industry is a Taiwan-based electronics contract manufacturer for many U.S. and global technology companies. The company is also known as Foxconn Technology Group, or just Foxconn. It designs, develops, and manufactures products related to nanotechnology, heat transfer, wireless connectivity, and material sciences. Foxconn also produces cables, connectors, and personal computer components.

#4 Dell Technologies Inc. (DELL)

  • Revenue (TTM): $91.5 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $2.1 billion
  • Market Cap: $49.0 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 20.2%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Dell is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries, provides information technology (IT) hardware, software, and service solutions. It produces laptops, desktops, tablets, workstations, servers, monitors, printers, gateways, software, and storage. Dell also provides cloud management, networking and security, and other end-user computing offerings.

#5 Sony Corp. (SNE)

  • Revenue (TTM): $76.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $6.1 billion
  • Market Cap: $94.8 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 29.3%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

Sony is a Japan-based multinational conglomerate that develops, designs, and manufactures electronic equipment, instruments, personal computers, home audio and entertainment systems, devices, game consoles, mobile phones, and software. The company also has a semiconductor solutions segment that produces image sensors and camera modules.

#6 Panasonic Corp. (PCRFY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $64.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $1.5 billion
  • Market Cap: $21.4 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 16.5%
  • Exchange: OTC

Panasonic is a Japan-based multinational electronics manufacturer. The company develops and manufacturers home appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, car navigation systems, digital devices, computer peripherals, telecommunications, industrial equipment, lighting fixtures and electric lamps, and various electronic parts.

#7 HP Inc. (HPQ)

  • Revenue (TTM): $56.8 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $2.6 billion
  • Market Cap: $26.9 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 6.5%
  • Exchange: New York Stock Exchange

HP is a multinational IT company that provides personal computing and other access devices, imaging and printing products, as well as related technologies, solutions, and services. The company offers commercial and consumer desktop and notebook personal computers, workstations, commercial hardware and mobility devices, printer hardware and supplies, scanning devices, and more.

#8 Lenovo Group Ltd. (LNVGY)

  • Revenue (TTM): $49.9 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $674.8 million
  • Market Cap: $7.9 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -1.9%
  • Exchange: OTC

Lenovo is a Hong Kong-based multinational technology company that develops and manufactures various technology products and services. It produces personal computers, workstations, servers, storage, smart televisions, and mobile products such as smartphones, tablets, and applications. The company also provides Internet and IT services.

#9 LG Electronics Inc. (066570)

  • Revenue (TTM): $49.7 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $365.8 million
  • Market Cap: ₩15.1 trillion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: 47.2%
  • Exchange: OTC

LG is a South Korea-based multinational electronics company that manufactures digital display equipment and home appliances. Its products include flat panel televisions, A/V products, personal computers, washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators, LED lighting, and telecommunications equipment such as smart phones and tablets.

#10 Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO)

  • Revenue (TTM): $49.3 billion
  • Net Income (TTM): $11.2 billion
  • Market Cap: $169.3 billion
  • 1-Year Trailing Total Return: -15.5%
  • Exchange: NASDAQ

Cisco is a multinational technology company that designs and manufactures products related to the communications and IT industry, and related services. Its products include infrastructure platforms, applications, security, and more. These products are designed for transporting data, voice, and video.