Samsung leaves Apple and Nokia behind as mobile web usage lead widens

Samsung continues to take the lead in global mobile Internet usage, leaving Apple in the dust just ahead of its expected next-generation iPhone announcement.

The Korean phone maker beat the competition in terms of global Internet usage, clocking in at 25.7 per cent — its highest-ever lead over Apple's 23.4 per cent, according to StatCounter's August data.

Samsung first overtook Apple in June, barely pushing past the US-based electronics giant for two months before breaking clear of the pack. Nokia landed at 21.7 per cent in August, while BlackBerry, HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG, and Motorola pull up the rear, each carrying less than four per cent of the market.

"Over the past 12 months Apple has increased its share in the U.S. and U.K. but globally there is an ongoing battle taking place between it and Samsung," StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a statement.

In the US, Apple maintained its lead with 52.2 per cent of mobile Internet traffic compared to Samsung's 19 per cent. Nokia dropped to 1.5 per cent across the pond, which StatCounter said represents "an underdog opportunity for Microsoft following the announcement of its proposed partial acquisition of Nokia."

Last week, the Cupertino-based firm revealed plans for a second product event in China tomorrow, sparking rumours of a cheap handset heading overseas. Additional reports on Friday tipped a deal between Apple and China Mobile to bring the hotly-anticipated plastic-backed iPhone 5C model to the world's largest mobile carrier.

"Should the rumors prove true, it will be fascinating to see if a less expensive iPhone will help it increase market share against lower cost competitors in global markets," Cullen said.

StatCounter data, of course, is not the final say in global smartphone usage. In late July, IDC and Strategy Analytics weighed in on the topic, suggesting that Apple and Samsung are in fact losing ground to smaller manufacturers, like LG and ZTE.