Jul 27, 2011

Samsung pips Apple, Nokia in smartphone sales for first time

Samsung Electronics, maker of the Galaxy mobile phone, may have surpassedNokia and Apple in smartphone sales for the first time on demand for devices that run on Android software, a research company said.


Samsung is estimated to have sold between 18 million and 21 millionsmartphones globally in the April-June quarter, compared with 16.7 million for Nokia and 20.3 million iPhones, Neil Mawston, a London-based analyst at Strategy Analytics, a research company based in Boston, said in an e-mailed response to questions on July 22. The data exclude tablet-computer sales.

The estimates show Google's Android is gaining ground on Apple in smartphones as Nokia, which is turning toMicrosoft for software support, struggles to keep up with the pace. Samsung, which also produces low-end phones that aren't capable of downloading applications, has said it aims to more than double sales of high-end devices this year.

"Samsung's Android portfolio is selling strongly in most regions," said Mawston. "Samsung stands a reasonable chance of capturing the top spot on a quarterly basis if it can continue expanding its Android portfolio across high-growth markets like China and Brazil.Samsung and Apple will be at similar levels in smartphones by the end of the year."

Catching Nokia

Including basic phones, Samsung will probably have a 20% share this year, compared with Nokia's 26%, closing the gap between the world's two largest handset makers to the narrowest ever, he said. Samsung wasn't immediately able to verify the figures, said Nam Ki Yung, a Seoul-based spokesman for the Suwon, South Korea- based company. Steve Park, a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple, declined to comment.

Cherry Gong, a Nokia spokeswoman in China, didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Samsung fell 0.4% to 847,000 won at the 3:00 p.m. close in Seoul, while South Korea's benchmark Kospi index lost 1%. The shares have declined 11% this year.

Samsung's global smartphone sales had lagged behind Nokia, Apple andResearch in Motion in the first quarter, according to researcher International Data Corp. The South Korean company's sales are accelerating after it began selling the Galaxy S II, a successor to its best-selling Android device introduced last year to counter Apple.

New Galaxy

Samsung planned to roll out the model in 120 countries through 140 operators from May, the company said in April. The latest Galaxy handset went on sale last week in five cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, as the company seeks to make a push into the world's largest market for mobile phones.

The latest 4.27-inch Galaxy phone, unveiled in February, helped Samsung more than double operating profit at its mobile phone business in the second quarter, say five analysts polled by Bloomberg News. Apple reported net income that beat estimates on July 19, lifted by record sales of iPhones andiPads. Nokia reported its first quarterly loss since 2009 as the Finnish company struggles to sell handsets based on its Symbian software.

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