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Samsung knocks Apple off top spot to become world’s biggest smartphone seller

samsung-galaxy-s-ii-screen-frontThanks in part to strong sales of its Android-operated Galaxy S II handset, Samsung has passed Apple to become the world’s biggest seller of smartphones.

The Korean company also released figures for the third quarter on Friday, which showed a record profit generated by smartphone sales.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, Samsung took 23.8 percent of the smartphone market with 27.8 million shipments compared to Apple’s 14.6 percent with 17.1 million shipments.

This will of course come as good news for the Asian electronics giant, what with all the patent-based legal wrangling it’s currently experiencing with rival Apple. At the same time though, it’ll no doubt reinforce the Cupertino company’s determination to press on with its legal action to try to prevent the sale of many of Samsung’s devices, such as its Galaxy tablets and smartphones.

In an email statement, Strategy Analytics said of the figures, “Samsung’s rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution.”

With early sales of Apple’s new iPhone 4S looking more than promising, Samsung’s time at the top could be short lived. And Apple will be further buoyed by news that, following the lengthy service outage suffered by BlackBerry users recently, 64 percent of those considering switching to another handset said they would opt for an iPhone.

Though Samsung showed strong growth in sales of its smartphones in the third quarter, the state of its chip business was less straightforward. Profit from sales of its computer memory chips were low compared to a year earlier, though revenue generated from sales of processor chips for smartphones and tablets was strong. And to whom is it selling many of its processor chips? Why, Apple of course. Some may see the battle with Apple as a win-win situation for Samsung, with the iPhone and iPad both incorporating its components.

The Korean company was upbeat about the immediate future. “Looking ahead into the fourth quarter – when industry demand is traditionally at its peak – Samsung expects sales of mobile devices to remain strong and flat panel TV shipments to increase,” the company said in its earnings statement.

[Source: Bloomberg / Reuters]