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Apple overtakes Samsung as largest smartphone maker

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Apple floored the tech community when it announced on Tuesday that it sold 37 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011. This staggering figure was well over the 17 million it sold in Q3 2011 and may be high enough to make Apple the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world.

Apple climbed over its rival Samsung, which is expected to announce later this week that it sold 35 million handsets worldwide. Apple beat out Samsung because it had fantastic momentum going into the holiday quarter. There was pent up demand for the iPhone 4S which launched at the beginning of the quarter. Customers lined up for the phone and Tim Cook confirmed in the earnings call yesterday that demand exceeded inventory.

Samsung, however, had several models on the market, but none of its phones were on fire like the 4S. The Galaxy SII was older and on the down side of its sales. The flagship Galaxy Nexus also debuted overseas in the quarter, but it didn't garner the attention of the international crowd like the iPhone 4S. The Nexus also arrived in the US with Verizon, but it launched late in the quarter and its sales won't contribute heavily to Samsung's Q4 numbers.

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