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Samsung Nearly Doubles Apple's Smartphone Share, Pressure On iPhone 5

The numbers are in and it's no contest: Samsung is the most prolific supplier of phones in the world by a long shot. According to the latest figures from IDC, Samsung shipped a whopping 50.2 million smartphones last quarter, nearly doubling the numbers from Apple, the silver medal shipper. Together, the two companies account for 49.5 percent of all cell phone shipments around the globe -- albeit in very different fashions.

"Samsung employs a 'shotgun' strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments," senior research analyst Ken Restivo said in IDC's press release. "Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models."

Although iPhone sales were up 28 percent compared to 2Q 2011, sales of Apple handset slipped 26 percent between the first and second quarters as customers hesitated in the face of the looming iPhone 5. Sales of the iPhone typically slip a couple of quarters after the release of a new model.

Samsung attacked the opportunity provided by Apple's comparatively lackluster shipments. The company's overall mobile phone shipments leapt up 172.8 percent and Samsung's electronics division posted a 48 percent increase in profit compared to 2Q 2011, to $4.5 billion net, with the mobile division accounting for 60 percent of the operating profits. As much as Apple and court judges have against the company's Galaxy phones, customers are buying them up like crazy, apparently.

In other news, Nokia -- the Finnish former king of the feature phone -- saw demand for its mobile offerings plummet, shipping just 10 million units in the second quarter. Things look much brighter for ZTE: the Chinese manufacturer saw shipments jump an amazing 300 percent compared to last year, largely on the back of sales of entrylevel phones on the Chinese mainland.