South Koreans have surpassed the U.S. in sales of smartphones in 2011, but the holidays can bring Apple into the top.

"For Europe, the fourth quarter is not marked by the usual craziness of the holidays. Economic problems made users more demanding," said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner. In this context, difficult from the economic point of view, experts have estimated that in the last quarter of 2011 will be sold over 140 million smartphones. The absolute leaders are Samsung and Apple, while Nokia, HTC and Research in Motion are only collecting the crumbs.

Regarding the latter, analysts are not too confident. "Basically, it’s only about the iPhone family and the Samsung Galaxy family. Only they are flying off the shelves. The rest gather what's left," said a specialist at the analysis firm Strategy Analytics.

In fact, 2011 marked a radical change of the mobile phone market, the third quarter being the one when the South Korean manufacturer Samsung has come first in top sales of smartphones. Apple responded with iPhone 4S, but the results of the final battle will appear at the beginning of 2012, when manufacturers will make the sales stock. South Koreans have counted on the two flagships – Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus – while Apple has had success with the new 4S. According to Reuters, the company founded by Steve Jobs estimates the sales during the holiday season will reach almost 28 million units, an increase of 70% over the fourth quarter of last year.

At the same time, although being leader at the total number of terminals sold, Samsung is unable to compete with the Americans in terms of individual sales. Thus, the Galaxy SII – the most valuable product of Asians – has reached this year 10 million units sold, well below iPhone’s. Holidays will be defining and stabilizing the market position of Galaxy Nexus, the first phone with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and with technical specifications far better than those seen on the iPhone 4S.

2011 has brought Nokia’s decline

Although has introduced new Windows phones, Nokia is not able to regain the leadership lost in the second quarter of 2011. Although still in the top with the total number of terminals sold, Finns are particularly preferred for their very cheap devices, but that do not reinforce the commercial power of the Finnish producer. According to latest data, in the UK, Nokia Lumia 800 is only the sixth most popular phone. The bad news continues: in the last quarter, Finns’ sales will fall by 31% compared to the same period last year.

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