updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri October 28, 2011
Strategy Analyics says Samsung takes clear lead
Samsung pulled ahead of Apple by a wide margin to become the top smartphone maker during the summer, Strategy Analytics said. Getting numbers that Samsung itself wouldn't directly supply, the research firm understood Samsung had shipped 27.8 million smartphones. Apple's dip to 17.07 million units in the run-up to the iPhone 4S knocked it down to second place after briefly claiming the top this spring.
The change of ranks gave Samsung 23.8 percent of the smartphone space, where Apple dipped to 14.6 percent. Nokia's 16.8 million saw it still behind Apple by a slight margin at 14.4 percent.
Samsung's success was credited to getting "memorable" brands and "elegant" hardware. Most have attributed the recent run almost uniformly to the Galaxy S II, which has so far managed over 10 million sales since it first arrived in late April. Original Galaxy S models and budget phones like the Galaxy Ace also help, but sales of these older or cheaper models are known to be considerably smaller.
The smartphone sales were a bright spot for an otherwise downbeat quarter, where chips and displays dragged profit down. Samsung won't necessarily hold on to the top spot, as Apple has seen record iPhone launch sales and is expected to see a slingshot effect where iPhone 4S sales in the fall more than offset the summer drop. Apple is adding Sprint and KDDI to its carrier mix for the first time and is also seeing its first genuinely new phone arriving on Verizon.