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Apple topples Nokia, Samsung as top phone maker

Apple blew by once dominant cellphone makers Nokia and Samsung to become the top smartphone vendor, with over 18% market share, according to figures released by Strategy Analytics.

In just four years since the release of the iPhone, Apple managed to become the world’s largest smartphone maker, despite sharp competition from rival Samsung.

The figures show Nokia has less than half of the smartphone market share it had last year, slipping in the ranking to the third spot with 15% share. Samsung has had a meteoric rise of 520% annually, currently taking the second spot with 17.5% market share. Apple is leading the pack with 18.5% of the smartphone market.

“Samsung’s rise as the second largest smartphone vendor is due to the company’s Galaxy line of smartphones, especially the high-tier S II Android model,” said Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics. “Nokia’s fall in the rankings is blamed on the industry awaiting Nokia’s pending transition to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 OS early next year,” explained Tom Kang, also a director at the research firm.

“Apple, whose latest smartphone was launched more than a year ago, grew in market share compared to Q2 2010, when the company owned 13.5% of the smartphone market, to 18.4% in Q2 2010. Apple’s growth remained strong as it expanded distribution worldwide, particularly in China and Asia,” detailed Alex Spektor, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s success in the smartphone market is also placing the company as the number 4 mobile phone vendor worldwide (with 5.6% of the market), according to the latest figures from IDC. In terms of overall phone sales, Nokia is still strong at number 1 with over 24% of the market, followed by Samsung with 19%, and LG third at 6.8%.

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