With an IDC-estimated 18.7 iPhones shipped during the first quarter of this year, Apple files as the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor, outdone only by Nokia which moved 24.2 million smartphones in Q1 2011. Rival Reseach In Motion (13.9 million units) and Samsung (10.8 million units) placed third and fourth, respectively. As much as Apple is battling Nokia for the leading smartphone maker crown, Samsung is attacking the Finnish firm on all handset sales. The rising popularity of Samsung’s feature phones and dumb phones powered by their own operating system called Bada has helped the Korean phone maker capture the #2 slot in terms of all handset shipments globally.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, Samsung shipped 70 million handset units during the first quarter of this year versus the 108.5 million Nokia phones. Apple, which only makes smartphones, came in fourth, behind LG Electronics which shipped 24.5 million handsets. That was last quarter, though.

The global handset landscape is going to alter rapidly by the June quarter’s end, predicts Japanese research firm Nomura. Their analyst was quoted as saying that “Nokia looks set to relinquish its smartphone crown (in unit terms) to Samsung and Apple”. This means, their analyst argues, that Nokia will be #3, with Samsung and Apple taking the #1 and #2 slots, respectively. Mind you, Nokia has been the world’s top handset maker since 1996…


First quarter 2011 global handset sales, by IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

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Samsung has risen to become the only vendor outside the Apple fold capable of mounting a formidable challenge to Apple’s gadgets. Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets are at the center of a lawsuit Apple filed against Samsung. The Korean consumer electronics giant doesn’t view the Apple lawsuit as legally problematic even though Apple is accusing Samsung of blatantly copying and stealing their best ideas. Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone has outsold the iPhone for the first time in Japan where Apple’s handset has been a huge hit with consumers. The Galaxy S II, a Galaxy S successor, could hit US shores shortly.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com


Whereas Samsung is set to become the #1 handset vendor worldwide, Apple is poised to take the crown of the leading smartphone maker.

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