In the ongoing battle between Android and Apple products, Samsung has retaken the lead in the global smartphone market.
Research group IDC said Samsung sold 82.4 million smartphones in the first three months of the year, for a 24.5 per cent market share.
Even though the number sold was down 7 per cent from a year ago, it outpaced Apple as iPhone sales were down slightly from the final quarter of 2014.
Apple sold 61.2 million iPhones in early 2015 for an 18.2 per cent market share.
Some of the factors that led to these numbers were Samsung launching its flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones in April, while iPhone sales dipped compared with its stronger sales over the Christmas period.
In the fourth quarter, several surveys had Apple and Samsung virtually tied with around 20 per cent of the market each.
An IDC spokesman said: “Samsung’s shipments, given that the S6 was not launched into the market for the full quarter, were driven by large volumes into emerging markets and steady demand for its mid-range and lower-priced smartphones.”
Chinese make Lenovo was third thanks to completing its acquisition of Motorola from Google. Its 5.6 per cent market share placed it ahead of fellow Chinese group Huawei, with 5.0 per cent, and South Korea’s LG at 4.6 per cent.
IDC said the overall global smartphone market grew 16.7 per cent from a year earlier, with total shipments of 337 million units.
A similar report by Strategy Analytics said the figures show Apple is a “star” performer because it posted strong sales compared with the same period last year.
“Apple soared 40 per cent annually... Apple’s new iPhone 6 portfolio is flying off the shelves in China and the United States, its two biggest markets,” said a spokesman.
Microsoft meanwhile struggled as it took over the Nokia brand of mobile phones, once the world’s biggest.
Figures for Microsoft smartphone sales were not included in the two surveys but the company said it sold 8.6 million Lumia handsets in the quarter, only about half of Huawei's total.
In the broader market, “Microsoft’s 8 per cent global mobile phone market share is sitting near an all-time low,” said Ken Hyers at Strategy Analytics.
“Microsoft continues to lose ground in feature phones, while its Lumia smartphone portfolio is in a holding pattern awaiting the launch of new Windows 10 software later this year.”
Juniper Research said it expects Samsung’s performance to improve in the coming months because “the S6 and the S6 Edge have had a better reception than the S5.”
Juniper said BlackBerry lost further ground, delivering just 1.5 million handsets in the quarter.