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Samsung surges ahead in global mobile sales

01 May 2012
Galaxy Nexus Xperia S One X front photo

Samsung has staked its claim as the world's top mobile phone manufacturer as the company continues its battle with Apple.

Reports from research firms IDC and IHS placed the company atop the global handset shipment charts, while Comscore ranked the company first on its March US market share list.

According to IDC, Samsung claimed a 29.1 per cent share of smartphone sales on the quarter. Meanwhile, IHS ranks the company's total handset sales above Nokia, marking the first time since 1998 that the Finnish giant has yielded the top sales spot.

Both firms noted that in the smartphone sector, Apple remains in a close battle with Samsung.

"The race between Apple and Samsung remained tight during the quarter, even as both companies posted growth in key areas," said IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas.

"With other companies in the midst of major strategic transitions, the contest between Apple and Samsung will bear close observation as hotly-anticipated new models are launched."

The two firms have been clashing both in the market and in the courtroom over claims of patent infringement. Legal issues aside, however, pundits believe there will be more than enough room in the market for both Samsung and Apple.

IHS senior wireless communications analyst Wayne Lam told V3 that the unique approaches each company brings to the market target different sets of customers and needs.

"Apple does one product at the high end of the market, while Samsung has addressed a wide-ranging market and form-factors," Lam said.

"The platform war is not mutually exclusive, if you look at it currently it is not really a war, so to speak."

Nokia, meanwhile, could see itself re-emerge in the coming years following its transition to Windows Phone. As the markets for Android and iOS devices mature, Lam believes that vendors will look to Windows Phone as another option.

The company predicts that the platform should emerge as a viable player in the market by 2015-2016, possibly bringing Nokia with it.

"We anticipate Nokia to go a lot of transitional hardship, but also we anticipate them to create a little bit of momentum behind Windows Phone and potentially other OEMs may jump on board," Lam said.

"There is definitely room for a viable third platform."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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