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Smartphone shipments are still on the rise, says IDC

Samsung topped Apple for the title of "world's largest smartphone vendor" during the first quarter, according to IDC's latest data.

Worldwide smartphone shipments grew by 4.3 percent, according to research firm IDC. The figure is a few ticks above above the firm's previous first-quarter forecast of 3.6-percent growth.

Samsung regained the title of "world's largest smartphone vendor" from Apple during the first quarter thanks to shipments of 79.2 million smartphones, IDC said. Samsung's position was bolstered by deep discounts on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which helped clear out inventory and make way for the new S8 and S8 Plus, the firm said.

Apple, which took the No. 2 position in IDC's rankings, remained largely flat during the quarter despite the introduction of its new Product (RED) iPhone 7 and refreshed iPhone SE. The Cupertino tech giant could become a greater threat to Samsung this fall, when it (potentially) puts out a special edition 10th anniversary iPhone.

Chinese OEMs Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo rounded out the top five, respectively.

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"Despite all the popularity and media hype around premium devices, we continue to witness a shift in many companies' portfolios geared towards affordable devices with premium-type styling compared to flagship models," said ID research manager Anthony Scarsella. "Companies have started to implement a single premium design language that ultimately blurs the lines between the high-end and the low-end, allowing the average consumer to jump on the brand without a hefty upfront investment."

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