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Samsung, Apple retain smartphone lead, but China will be kingmaker

Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone standings, but with 40 percent of devices going to Chinese consumers in the first quarter Lenovo and Huawei are poised to move up.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Smartphone shipments were solid in the first quarter, but down from the fourth quarter pace as 40 percent of devices went to Chinese consumers, according to IDC data. Samsung kept the smartphone market share lead with Apple second, but Lenovo is expected to jump in the standings.

Overall, smartphone vendors shipped 284.8 million smartphones, up 30.2 percent from a year ago, but down 1.7 percent from the fourth quarter. Total phone shipments---including the smart and dumb varieties---were 454.9 million, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.

China appears to be the kingmaker in the smartphone industry as Apple launched on China Mobile's network. Lenovo also should gain at home and abroad once it completes the acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google.

For 2014, IDC is projecting smartphone shipments of 1.2 billion units, up 19.3 percent from 2013.

Here's a look at the standings for smartphones and generic mobile phones.

idcsmartphoneq1a
idcmobilephoneq1


Some key points:

  • Apple broke the 40 million unit mark in the first quarter. 
  • Huawei is expected to ship 80 million smartphones in 2014.
  • LG is trying to hold off Coolpad, Xiaomi and ZTE to retain the No. 5 spot. 
  • Nokia's mobile phone share---smart and dumb phones---was 11.7 percent in the first quarter, down from 14.3 percent a year ago. Microsoft will need to take those low end Nokia phones and get tradeups to Windows Phone.

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