Samsung Is Back Atop the Smartphone Market

April 11, 2017, 3:37 PM UTC

It didn’t take long for Samsung to regain its footing and once again reign over the smartphone market.

Samsung (SSNLF) sold more smartphones than any other device maker in the first quarter, earning the company 26.1% market share worldwide, according to data from research firm TrendForce. Apple captured the second spot on 16.9% market share during the period.

The companies were followed by Chinese handset makers Huawei and Oppo, which secured 11.4% and 8.1% market share, respectively.

The first quarter stood in stark contrast to the fourth quarter of 2016 when Apple stood atop the market with 20.3% share. Samsung at the time had 18.5% market share.

Samsung came under fire late last year after the company’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 handset suffered from flaws that caused its battery to overheat and in some cases, catch fire. Samsung, which sold millions of Galaxy Note 7 units before the flaws were apparent, was forced to recall and recover those devices.

Those troubles, coupled with a popular iPhone 7 release that saw the handset’s sales soar during the holiday season, were enough to knock Samsung from the top of the heap.

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According to TrendForce, Samsung was able to regain its footing on the back of its Galaxy J series of devices, smartphones sold in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world that come with lower-end features and cheap prices to target budget-conscious shoppers around the world. And although TrendForce notes that Samsung was the only company to actually boost its smartphone production volume in the first quarter, the researcher believes it has some work to do “to fully recover” from the Galaxy Note 7.

Not even Samsung’s recently announced, high-end Galaxy S8 line of devices could be enough, TrendForce says. The researcher believes the Galaxy S8 will help Samsung maintain relatively flat sales in the upcoming quarters, but won’t significantly increase the company’s sales.

Apple (AAPL), meanwhile, will continue to see smartphone sales slide until the company announces new handsets later this year, TrendForce says. This year’s new iPhones, which are expected to be announced later this year and ship in the third quarter, could put a damper on sales of other devices as consumers wait to see what Apple has planned, the research firm predicts.

For its part, Apple hasn’t confirmed it’s even working on an iPhone. However, several reports have surfaced, suggesting the company is working on three new iPhones for this year, including one that could come with a different design and curved display. The remaining two handsets will reportedly come with modest upgrades over last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models.

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