Samsung extends lead in smartphone sales as market grows 47 percent

Samsung extended its sales lead in the smartphone market in the last quarter, Gartner reported Wednesday, as smartphone sales fueled the larger mobile phone industry.

Smartphones accounted for nearly 40 percent of the overall mobile phone market. The market overall fell 3.1 percent from the previous year, but the smartphone market in particular grew nearly 50 percent.

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Together, Samsung and Apple make up 46.5 percent of the smartphone market, said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion took the third-place spot, followed closely by HTC. Nokia, which had been third on the list, fell to seventh place.

Likely boosted by Samsung’s success, Google’s Android system also maintained its lead with an estimated 72 percent of the world’s platform market share, compared with Apple’s 13.9 percent. In third place, again, was RIM, though its share fell 6 percent, from 11 percent to 5.3 percent, from the same period last year. Microsoft grew from 1.5 percent to 2.4 percent of the market.

The second tier of the mobile market is ripe for a shake-up, thanks to upcoming offerings from Microsoft and Research in Motion. If Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 manages to snag the third-place spot in the coming months, it could lift Nokia and HTC with it. On the other hand, if Research in Motion sees success with its BlackBerry 10 platform after its January launch, it could also solidify its third-place spot.

Weak demand for “feature phones” — the industry name for Web-enabled phones that don’t really run apps — and basic cell phones contributed to the overall market drop. Looking at the list of the top sellers in the market, however, does offer some tidbits about emerging players in the field.

Samsung also led in mobile phone sales overall, snapping up 22.9 percent of the world’s mobile phone sales in the third quarter, the report said. It essentially swapped market share with former leader Nokia, which followed with 19.2 percent. Apple took 5.5 percent of the market overall, followed by Chinese phone maker ZTE. LG rounded out the top five at 3.3 percent with Huawei snapping at its heels at 2.8 percent.

 
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