Samsung continues to put pressure on Apple (AAPL) in the fast-growing smartphone field, according to a new report.
Global smartphone sales rose 47% to 169 million units in the third quarter and now account for 40% of all cellphones sold, according to research firm Gartner.
Samsung sold 98 million smartphones, or 33% of the market, for the lead. No. 2 Apple sold 23.6 million units, or 14%.
"Samsung saw strong demand for Galaxy smartphones across different price points, and it further widened the gap with Apple in the smartphone field," the report said.
The market share for smartphones using the Google (GOOG) Android platform in Q3 swelled to 72% from 53% a year earlier. Apple's iOS share fell to 14% from 15% — partly due to people waiting for the iPhone 5. The Samsung Galaxy is the top-selling Android phone.
Research firm Canaccord Genuity, in a report Wednesday, said Apple faces tough competitors.
"Apple, once a market darling, has slumped in recent trading as it combats slowing top-line growth rates and contracting gross margins as competitors fight for market share in categories Apple invented," the report said, adding Apple is in an "innovation momentum" slowdown.
Even as smartphone sales shot up, global sales of all cellphones fell 3% vs. Q3 2011, to 428 million units, Gartner said.
But Q3 unit sales rose vs. Q2, as "demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets," Gartner said.
Samsung was the global leader, with a 23% share of the global cellphone market, up from 19%. No. 2 Nokia (NOK) was at 19%, down from 24% a year ago. Apple was No. 3 at 5.5%, up from 4%.
Apple fell 1% Wednesday. The stock is off 24% from its September top.
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