Samsung Beats Apple to Become Top Smartphone Maker

Nokia still the leader in global phone market

Samsung is now the world leader in smartphones -- taking almost a quarter of the market share and beating out Apple and Nokia, a report said today.

Strategy Analytics, a U.K.-based research firm, reported that the South Korean Samsung shipped 27.8 million smartphones from July through September, taking 23.8 percent of the smartphone market, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Apple had 17.1 million shipments, or 14.6 percent of the market, while Nokia dropped to third at 14.4 percent. From the report:

“Samsung’s rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution,” Strategy Analytics wrote. “Samsung has demonstrated that it is possible, at least in the short term, to differentiate and grow by using the Android ecosystem.”

In the global mobile phone market, which includes the lower-cost feature phones, Nokia is still the  leader, but Samsung is quickly gaining on its lead in second place. LG is third. Apple has never created a feature phone.

The report, which shows both Samsung and Apple battling in the global smartphone race, may clarify why both companies seem to be duking it out in court, each side claiming the other is infringing on their patent and trying to put an injunction on selling each other's device. There's a lot at stake in the burgeoning smartphone market.

But there's also something else. Is it a surprise that Apple is rumored to be making a television, and that the No. 1 leader in televisions is . . . Samsung? You're right, it's probably just a coincidence.

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