Samsung overtakes Apple in smartphones

Samsung's most recently quarterly results have revealed a surprising fact which will have Apple's legal department redoubling its efforts: the South Korean company is now the world's largest smartphone seller.

The success of Samsung's Android-powered devices, including the last-generation Google 'hero' phone the Nexus S, has pushed the company above its fruit-themed rival to become the biggest smartphone maker in Q3 2011.

According to Samsung's figures, shipments rose 40 per cent in the third quarter thanks largely to the popularity of the top-end Galaxy S II Android-powered smartphone.

While sales are up, the company still has a long way to go to match Apple in profit margins: on average, the company makes 16.9 per cent profit on every handset shipped - a galaxy away from Apple's impressive 30.8 per cent profit margin.

Although Samsung failed to provide precise smartphone shipment figures, the Financial Times quotes market watcher Strategy Analytics as suggesting that the company ended the quarter on a market share of 23.8 per cent compared to Apple's 14.6 per cent, having shipped 10.1 million more smartphones through the quarter.

The news that Samsung is dramatically outselling Apple will likely give the company cause to redouble its legal efforts, which have thus far seen temporary bans enforced against Samsung's Android-based Galaxy product line.

Clearly, those bans - many of which have been overturned or delayed pending further hearings - haven't hurt the company's sales too much.

Absent from Samsung's report, however, was any mention of its tablet sales.