In a recent report, Samsung had topped Apple to become the world's largest smartphone maker for Q3 2011. Now, in a report studying smartphone sales in individual countries, Samsung has once again shipped more phones than rival Apple inside the United States.
But that only makes them numbers two and three: HTC has taken the lead in the U.S. smartphone market, becoming, for one quarter at least, America's biggest handset maker,
The numbers of handset shipments in America for Q3 2011, according to research firm Canalys:
1. HTC (5.7 million)
2. Samsung (4.9 million)
3. Apple (4.6 million)
The research also confirmed the findings of an earlier report by Strategy Analytics; both companies pegged Samsung as the leader in the worldwide smartphone market for Q3 2011.
It is HTC that is the biggest story here, however, as the Taiwanese handset maker had a huge quarter, with both its high-end and low-end offerings taking the top spots in the States. Perhaps bolstered by its August purchase of Beats by Dre audio -- and by consumers waiting for Apple to release its newest iPhone -- HTC shipped almost 25 percent of all smartphones in America last quarter.
Shipments are different than sales, of course: Shipments refers to the number of devices that the manufacturers send out to re-sellers and not the number of devices that customers actually buy in stores. At least one prominent tech writer has called into question the correctness of declaring a company a "winner" based purely on shipment numbers.
Regardless, Canalys is calling HTC the victor of Q3. Don't expect them to be calling HTC's name in Q4, however: With record-breaking sales of the iPhone 4S already reported, and HTC publicly stating that they are going to ship far fewer phones this winter, HTC's reign atop the American smartphone rankings is bound to be short-lived.