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iPhone 5 wait drives record Samsung smartphone sales

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Samsung steamed ahead of Apple during Q2 to end the quarter with more than double its rival's share of the Western European smartphone market, in marked contrast to the situation in the US.

Figures out from market watcher IDC put Apple on 19 per cent, Samsung on 43.6 per cent, from respectively 21.1 per cent and 22 per cent in the year-ago quarter. Samsung's unit shipments jumped 148 per cent year on year, from 4.8m to 11.9m.

Apple's rose more sedately: up 13 per cent from 4.6m to 5.2m. It may have done better had World+Dog not been obsessed with the upcoming arrival of the iPhone 5. But this annual update frenzy - and the current-model sales dip that precedes it - is now a traditional feature of the smartphone business.

Still, that's enough to leave the iPhone maker in third place in the Western European chart of mobile makers, behind Samsung and Nokia. The Finnish phone company came a poor third in the smartphone-specific tally, with shipments of 2m units yielding a Q2 2012 market share of 7.3 per cent - the same as Sony.

Nokia's overall phone shipments in the region hit 8.1m units, which shows just how much it depends on feature-phone sales. Samsung's overall mobile shipments topped 17.3m units, so it actually shipped fewer ordinary handsets than Nokia did. Still, while Samsung's shipments rose 24 per cent, Nokia's fell ten per cent, so the South Korean company is clearly gaining favour as Nokia loses it, as punters put aside feature phones for smarter models.

RIM managed to make the overall phone sales chart despite, like Apple, only offering devices IDC classes as smartphones. But its quarterly unit shipments were down 37 per cent year on year, with the 3m BlackBerrys shipped in Q2 2011 falling to 1.9m in Q2 2012. Its smartphone market share fell from 13.8 per cent to seven per cent, putting it behind Sony.

Total smartphone shipments increased 26 per cent year on year to 27.4m units in Q2 2012, and accounted for 65 per cent of all phone shipments in Western Europe.

Android now accounts for 65 per of smartphone shipments in the region, its 71 per cent annual growth rate exceeded only by Windows Phone's 874 per cent. But colossal growth is easy when you come from next to nothing - retaining it and building a big user base is something else altogether. ®

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