Samsung in the third quarter remained the world's smartphone champion, widening its lead over rival Apple, Gartner reported Wednesday.
Strong sales of its Android-based Galaxy smartphones allowed Samsung to pull ahead as the clear-cut leader in the global smartphone market, Gartner said, accounting for 32.5 percent of worldwide market share. The Korean tech giant sold a whopping 55 million smartphones during the quarter, up from the 45.6 million units it sold during the previous quarter.
Apple, by comparison, sold 23.6 million iPhones in the third quarter, a figure that Gartner expects to grow over the next few months, with the upcoming holiday season and recent launch of the iPhone 5.
[Related: Foxconn Can't Keep Up With iPhone 5 Demand]"We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "With iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter of 2012, including China, and the upcoming holiday season Gartner analysts expect Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter."
Together, Apple and Samsung in the third quarter dominated the smartphone market, accounting for 46.5 percent share and "leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot," Gartner said.
Most of Gartner's figures reflected the mobile phone category, in general, rather than being smartphone-specific. But the firm did say that Nokia took the biggest tumble in the third quarter related to smartphone market share, falling from the third to seventh spot. The Finnish handset maker, which shipped 7.2 million smartphones during the quarter, should see a jump in sales over the next few months, Gartner said, with the recent launch of its Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920.
Struggling BlackBerry maker Research In Motion moved into Nokia's former, third-place slot, with China's HTC following closely behind in fourth.
In general, smartphone sales were up a staggering 46.9 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011, Gartner said. The firm also reported that Google's Android was the most widespread mobile OS in the third quarter, accounting for 72.4 percent of the market and followed at a safe distance by Apple's iOS with 13.9 percent.
PUBLISHED NOV. 15, 2012