Samsung, Apple top Nokia in smartphone shipments

April 27, 2012

The latest numbers from market research firms show that Samsung has topped Nokia in the race to be the top cellphone manufacturer. What’s less clear is whether Samsung or Apple carries the smartphone crown.

According to the research firm Strategic Analytics, Samsung is the clear winner, with 44.5 million phones shipped as compared to Apple’s 35 million iPhones, according to Barron’s Tech Trader Daily. IHS, on the other hand, has Apple as the top smartphone company, putting Samsung’s smartphone shipments at just 32 million.

It’s hard to say what the exact numbers are, as Samsung no longer announces how many smartphone units it has shipped in its quarterly earnings reports. The company did tell investors Friday that it had nearly doubled its profit from the previous year, up to around $4.46 billion.

Apple and Samsung have an interesting relationship, as Apple is one of the Korean company’s biggest customers and largest adversaries.

The firms are locked into a patent battle over whether Samsung copied the design of the iPhone and iPad for its own smartphones and tablets. Apple and Samsung have been ordered to talk about a settlement by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, Bloomberg reported.

In a recent earnings call, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that he “hates litigation” and would rather settle the Apple’s patent suits. He did say, however, “I just want people to invent their own stuff” and that Apple can’t become the developer for the world.

The race between the smartphone makers is likely to get more heated, as Samsung continues to push against Apple’s iPhone and iPad with its Galaxy line of gadgets. In its advertising campaigns, Samsung has pulled no punches, referring to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company’s customers as sheep and making fun of Apple fan culture in commercials for its phablet, the Galaxy Note.

The company has teased its “next galaxy” for a June reveal, which is expected to be the follow-up to its popular Galaxy S II handset. The company may also launch its own competitor to Apple’s iCloud service, which would unify customers’ media across their phones and tablets.

More technology news:

Samsung teases its ‘Next Galaxy’

The Verge: Are Apple and Samsung headed toward a settlement?

Slate: The Creepiness Factor

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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