Samsung doubles Apple's smartphone shipments in Q2

Apple has a huge share of the smartphone market, but Samsung shipped more handsets last quarter. Actually, Samsung shipped a lot more. The Korean electronics giant moved 50.5 million smartphones according to research firm Strategy Analytics, roughly double the 26 million iPhones shipped by Apple. In the same quarter a year ago, Samsung and Apple were neck-and-neck, with each shipping about 20 million handsets.

Many of the Apple faithful are likely holding off upgrading until the fall, when the next iPhone is expected to be released with a fresh dose of magical properties. However, plenty of folks were probably in the same position last year, when it was rumored that the iPhone 5 would debut in the fall of 2011.

There are other factors to consider, of course. Folks tend to upgrade when their cellular contracts expire. Samsung sells a much broader range of smartphones, including budget models. The Galaxy maker's stable also includes a number of designs that are newer than the iPhone 4S—and have bigger screens. It will be interesting to see if Samsung can maintain its lead when Apple adds a new iPhone model to its lineup. That addition will probably come hand-in-hand with discounts on the iPhone 4 and 4S, giving Samsung and others fresh competition at lower price points.

Overall, 146 million smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2012. That's a 32% increase over the same quarter last year, which is less than the 77% growth between the same quarters in 2010 and 2011. Samsung and Apple had the lion's share of shipments, with 35% and 18% of the pie, respectively. Apple's market share is down less than one percentage point versus the same quarter last year, which means Samsung's gains came at the expense of other players. Nokia, the third-place handset vendor, saw its share plunge from 15% to 7%.  "Other" smartphone vendors saw their combined market share drop from 48% to 41% over the same period.

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