The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Samsung might have beaten Apple in smartphone shipments. The South Korean conglomerate is due to announce earnings for the third calendar quarter, which ended September 30, next week. According to “a person familiar with the situation”, Samsung is poised to report quarterly shipments of more than 20 million smartphones. Apple on Tuesday reported 17.1 million iPhones sold during the three-month period ended September 24.

From the Journal article:

The South Korean company benefited from a push into the high end; demand is robust for phones that consumers can use to watch videos, download movies and send email. The company is also taking advantage of the popularity of Google Inc.’s Android operating system, while also stepping up production in Europe of phones using its own software and software from Microsoft Corp.

Looking at Google’s official video of Tuesday’s unveiling of the Ice Cream Sandwich software and Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, they say something to that effect. Check out that segment in the above clip or skim to mark 9:30 in the full video. If this data point is in fact true, Samsung’s title may be shortlived – and not just because these things change fast in the mobile space.

iPhone 4S launch numbers are a blow-away. Apple shipped four million of them in the launch weekend as U.S. carriers too reported best-ever product launches (AT&T, Sprint). In addition, Apple is guiding for a $37 billion holiday quarter, a 30 percent sequential increase. It is safe to assume that lots of that revenue will come from the iPhone. Revenue from iPhone and Related Products and Services accounted for well over a third (almost 39 percent) of Apple’s total $28.27 billion revenue filed for the September quarter.

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Samsung stopped divulging exact smartphone and tablet shipments this summer, citing competition with the Cupertino, California company. Apple’s 17.1 million iPhones in Q3 represent a 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter, but also a 16 percent sequential decline in units from the 20.34 million iPhones sold in the June quarter. Finance chief Peter Oppenheimer blamed the iPhone slump on iPhone 5 rumors fueling unrealistic expectations ahead of the October 4 introduction of iPhone 4S, which prompted many customers to withholding their smartphone purchases in September.

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