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Changing tides for smartphone sector?

Smartphone sales in the second quarter grew at the slowest pace in almost three years, and while Apple still posted health increases it was another vendor, Samsung, that managed to break a new record during the three-month period.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that worldwide smartphone shipments grew by 32 percent to 146.1 million units in Q2 2012. That was the slowest growth rate since the third quarter of 2009.

Samsung grabbed 35 percent of marketshare during the quarter, shipping 50.5 million smartphones — more than any other vendor has managed to produce during a single quarter. At least so far.

Strategy Analytics credits Samsung’s broad product portfolio as one reason for its achievement, which spans from the mass market Galaxy Y to the high-end Galaxy Note.

Don’t feel too sorry for the No. 2 vendor, Apple, which claimed about 18 percent of the marketshare during the second quarter, shipping approximately 26 million units. Its growth for the quarter was about the same as what it posted one year ago.

“We believe Apple’s lackluster performance was driven by some Apple fans and operators holding off iPhone purchases in anticipation of a rumored new iPhone 5 model around September or October of this year,” said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

Samsung’s growth signals another advance by the Android operating system at the expense of the Apple iOS, which is something that solution providers developing smartphone business applications or managing mobile technology being brought into companies via BYOD programs should watch carefully.

Researcher IDC believes that Android’s smartphone marketshare should peak this year at 61 percent. It is calling for overall smartphone market growth of 4 percent in 2012.

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