Samsung tops Apple in smartphone sales: IDC

The worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5 percent year-over-year during the first quarter, as Samsung Electronics overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position, according to IDC’s estimates.

Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones during the first three monthsof 2012 compared to 101.7 million in the same period last year, themarket research company said.

Samsung sold 42.2 millionsmartphones, which is a new record, whileApple sold 35.1 million during thefirst quarter. That means aboutevery second smartphone sold across the world came from either Samsungor Apple.

Since Samsung doesn’t report unit numbers, IDC and its competitors haveto estimate how many devices the company sells.

Last week, Strategy Analytics said Samsung shipped 44.5 millionsmartphones in the first quarter, while another research firmIHSiSuppli said the company only shipped 32 million, giving it the secondplace in the smartphone market.

The race between Apple and Samsung remained tight during the quarter,according to IDC. Propelling Samsung forward was the continuedexpansion of its Galaxy portfolio in nearly alldirections, while thelaunch of the iPhone 4S in China helped boost Apple sales, it said.

Apart from shipments by Samsung and Apple, the numbers weren’t verypretty during the first quarter.

Nokia came in third by selling11.9 million units, but the company’smarket share dropped by 50.8 percent, according to IDC.

RIM in fourth place
Symbian phone shipments declined precipitously as demand dropped inimportant emerging markets, including China. The company’s current woesmake a speedy transition to products powered by the Windows Phoneoperating system critical, IDC said.

Research In Motion (RIM) saw its unit sales drop by 29.7 percentreaching levels not seen since 2009, according to IDC. But 9.7 millionunits was still enough to make it the fourth largest vendor.

Like Nokia, RIM is a company in transition. Smartphones running on itsnew platform, BlackBerry 10, will be releasedlater this year. Untilthen, results like these may be a sign of things to come, according toIDC.

HTC, which came in fifth place,sold 6.9 million smartphones during thefirst three months of 2012, compared to 9 million during the sameperiod in 2011, according to IDC’s data.

HTC continued to struggle in the U.S. market, and the company is nowstaking its future success in large part on its One X and One Sproducts.

“The smartphone market is a two-horse race at moment, and we don’t seethat changing this year,” said Francisco Jeronimo, research manager atIDC.

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