Samsung has overtaken Apple in worldwide smartphone shipments after Apple suffered its lowest levels of shipments in two years, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Global smartphone shipments grew 44% year-on-year to reach a record 117 million units in the third quarter of 2011, said the survey. Samsung shipped 28 million smartphones, grabbing 24% market share and overtaking Apple.
Alex Spektor, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said Samsung's success demonstrates the possibility for manufacturers to differentiate and grow using Google's Android ecosystem.
"Samsung's rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution," he said.
Samsung's growth highlighted a slow quarter for Apple. The iPhone provider's global smartphone growth rate slowed to 21% annually in the third quarter of 2011.
Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, said the third quarter marked Apple's lowest level of shipments for two years.
"We believe Apple's growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries and tougher competition from Samsung's popular Galaxy S2 model," he said.
Apple's share of the tablet market has also shrunk by 29% to 67%, as Google's mobile operating system (OS) Android took a chunk out of the company's global sales during the last quarter this year.
Nokia's market share fell from 33% in the same period in 2010 to 14% in 2011. Strategy Analytics believes Nokia's new Lumia smartphone range, running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 OS, could drive recovery for Nokia's marketshare.
Global handset shipments grew 14% in the third quarter of 2011 to reach 390 million units.