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Samsung, Apple Hold Half Smartphone Market as Sales Surge

Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. held half the global smartphone market last year as shipments worldwide gained 43 percent, Strategy Analytics said.

Global shipments rose to a record 700 million units in 2012 from 491 million a year earlier, the market researcher said in a statement. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung boosted its share to 30.4 percent from 19.9 percent in 2011, according to the statement. Apple held 19.4 percent of the market, compared with 19 percent previously.

The rising popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy and Apple’s iPhone for watching videos and playing games on the go has hobbled third-ranked Nokia Oyj, which had set the previous record for smartphone shipments in 2010, Strategy Analytics said. Nokia’s share was cut to 5 percent from 15.8 percent previously.

“Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to tighten their grip on the smartphone industry,” Linda Sui, analyst at Boston-based Strategy Analytics, said in the statement. Nokia “still lacks a true hero model in its range that can be considered an Apple iPhone or Samsung S3 killer.”

Samsung’s global smartphone shipments more than doubled to 213 million units in 2012, compared with 97.4 million in 2011, Strategy Analytics said. Apple shipments rose to 135.8 million units from 93 million. Nokia shipments fell by more than half to 35 million units from 77.3 million.

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