Samsung leapfrogs Apple as top smartphone vendor worldwide

An iPhone and a Samsung phone

Samsung has snagged the top smartphone vendor spot from Apple, a throne Apple had just claimed in Q4 2011. Apple's Q1 2012 smartphone market share sat at 24.2%, while Samsung enjoyed a slight lead with 29.1% of all smartphone sales worldwide. The quarter also marked Samsung's leap over Nokia as the top mobile phone vendor globally, which is a huge competitive and symbolic victory. The overall market has shipped 144.9 million smartphones in the quarter, which is a 42.5% increase over last year. IDC's senior research analyst, Ramon Llamas, said of the battle between Apple and Samsung:

The race between Apple and Samsung remained tight during the quarter, even as both companies posted growth in key areas. Apple launched its popular iPhone 4S in additional key markets, most notably in China, and Samsung experienced continued success from its Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet and other Galaxy smartphones. With other companies in the midst of major strategic transitions, the contest between Apple and Samsung will bear close observation as hotly-anticipated new models are launched.

Apple and Samsung have been butting heads in the courtrooms, despite plans to talk about settling on their patent dispute; some might even say the neck-and-neck race between the two giants is what's propelling their legal squabbles forward. As the leading manufacturer, Samsung also embodies the Android threat that Steve Jobs pledged to go to thermonuclear war against. There's more than just patents and market share at stake here - there are big egos and a lot of pride on both sides of the fence. It will be interesting to see who wins which battles, but this is shaping up to be a feud that won't be concluding any time soon.

Have you swapped out an iPhone for a Samsung device? Or, conversely, made the leap from a Samsung Android smartphone to iOS? How are you finding the switch?

Source: IDC

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Samsung leapfrogs Apple as top smartphone vendor worldwide


I've mostly had Android devices. Love them. But I also have an iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. These ltwo compliment each other perfectly for me.
I wold honestly suggest that people give each a chance.
I briefly switched to an iPhone 4s, but had to take it back because the screen was simply to small for my own liking. Shouldn't seem like a big issue, but for me it was. Once you've used a large screen it can be hard to go back.
But I hope these two keep pushing the enevople in the market and not the courtroom.

My situation pretty much. I tried to go with an iPhone a year ago but it was just so redundant since I had an iPad, and I could not deal with the small screen. Now I have a Galaxy SII and will likely pick up the III as soon as it is available.

I switched from the Galaxy S Captivate to the iPhone 4s 6 months ago. I haven't been unhappy with my decision. Everything is just more polished and stable on iOS.
I did enjoy my time with Android as it was my first experience with a smartphone (coming from a Blackerry running OS6. Ugh!) But the default Samsung experience didn't work for me as the battery life sucked, apps crashed all the time. It just wasn't stable. I rooted it and loaded various different ROMs to see if I could find anything that I liked, and I did find some good ROMs. Just nothing that made me want to stay on that platform.
I do miss some things from Android but I guess I can get that back once there's a way to jailbreak iOS 5.1 (I do miss being able to simply toggle bluetooth and wifi). I would be curious to try a Samsung device again with ICS and see how that stacks up, but I would be keeping my iPhone on standby just in case.

After owning nothing but iPhones since 2008, I switched to an Samsung Galaxy Note in March. It is with great pride and pleasure that I state, definitively, that I will never again own an iDevice or be forced to deal with the garbage that is iTunes.
big happy.

Okay if that's the case, then why are you even looking at Apple blogs? This is a subject that baffles me. I didnt peruse Windows Mobile forums or blogs once I switched away from my Touch Pro 2... What brings you back here?

It's just that some people has open mind and don't blindly buy into one company. That's pretty much issue with many of Apple fans. They don't have open eye to see many wonderful things that exist beyond their walled garden.

Hard to compete against an industrial giant that manufactures many of your compenents.
I will admit Samsung makes some of the most technologically advanced consumer goods on the planet, but I still don't like them as a corporation.
If only there was a company that combined Apple's great customer service and quality with Samsung's bleeding edge technology.

I switched from an iPhone 4 to a Galaxy s2 and could not be happier.
The amount of freedom to do what you want with the device is astounding in comparison to ios

I greatly dislike iTunes. I've previously held a massive hate toward Apple that lasted for years.
Finally something got me to get an iPad in June of 2010 and I have not looked back. I gave up my Touch Pro 2 in October of that year and switched my wife to an iPhone shortly after. I've never been happier.
I've played with relatives and friends' android phones and they're nice, the customizable widgets and interface is fine, but I never felt that it was cohesive like IOS, and that's even coming with the understanding that it is dated in many of the ways it handles things. I feel the screen, while a bit small, is acceptable for what I need. These massive Android phones with their gargantuan screens don't appeal to me, I have an iPad for a larger device if I need it.
The biggest thing, however, is the fact that every app that runs on my iPhone will run on my iPad, and many times the reverse is true. The fact that over my 4 devices, I have only purchased apps once has more than paid for any frustrations I have with the Apple ecosystem. And the fact that Apple still supports older devices for at least 2 years is something I am very proud of. I don't have to wait for carriers to properly modify their OS upgrades, the second apple releases an OS upgrade, it's released for everyone. The ball is dropped constantly on other platforms with this support, I have a friend who is still waiting for a rollout that started in June of last year.
Apps and games I want are almost always on iOS first, and many times never come to Android. I've seen what is available in the marketplace and it's a ghost town in comparison to iOS.
Maybe in a few years I'll reconsider other devices... But I honestly doubt it. I'm very happy with my switch and can't imagine not having this cohesive bond between my devices. The knowing that everything just works is such an amazing feeling for me. Each of my reasons on their own might not be enough for most people, but take even 2 and combine them? It becomes monumental.

I just have to add one thing though... And that is just how much I miss my physical keyboards. Damn how I loved typing on them...

Is anyone else a little creeped out by the iPhone lock screen? It looks like the one kid's hand is fused to the baby's head... Super creepy.

i like itunes. it looks good. it plays music. it drags and drops music onto my iphone and ipods. that's all i really care about.
interesting though, android is also the leading smartphone os in the US too with 51% to IOS's 31%. Personally i expect that since i don't think they can dominate but like windows during the desktop wars clearly Android has lots of support. Me, thought there are things i don't like about android and my preference for ipods thus ios, i could use Android as a second choice.

There you go.. Another sheep praising his almighty God. Is it written in Apple user guide to bash other phones to get greatest satisfaction? BTW open your eyes and you will find how to setup Android phone faster

I was introduced into the apple ecosystem via a Hackintosh which i built more like a weekend project 5 years ago - then it was iPhone FirstGen and haven't looked back. I like my walled garden as much as my neighbor who love his wild 'free' android life. Every now and again we do trade pot shot - and shoulder sad stories about the other's OS.
Lament - oh i can't toggle Wifi Bluetooth
Fix - I jailbroke
He Lament's - My apps just keep crashing on me ....
Fix -
But the newer Android phone do have some gorgeous gorgeous screen estate.
For now i'm happy with my 4S and iPad 2 - and do love the way my apps, particularly my iLife and iWork apps compliment each other on my Macs and my iDevices. For some of us .... I guess this is bliss.
But a big "Yo" to my all freed android brothers....

You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing that I feel I'd by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I'm taking a look ahead in your next post, I'll try to get the dangle of it!