If you deemed the nearly 20 million smartphones Samsung shipped in the June quarter an impressive figure, brace yourself for even more extraordinary achievement in the second half of 2011 as DigiTimes reports that Samsung “has placed orders for 30 million touch sensors used to make four-inch AMOLED screens”. Suppliers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and others are said to be the prime beneficiaries of Samsung’s booming smartphone business. Of course, Samsung sources touch sensors from other suppliers so their final order may well exceed the quoted figure. As evident in the below chart from Asymco’s Horace Dediu, the Korean company’s been growing at an exponential rate, eclipsing Apple’s 142 percent annual growth in iPhone shipments.

The company, however, all but displaced Apple, which just toppled Nokia to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor. Being the leading Android backer, Samsung’s success has helped the Google operating system reach more than 50 percent platform share of all smartphones, more than double the iOS share of 19 percent, per latest Canalys survey. That said, it’s entirely plausible that this year Samsung could overtake Apple and become both the world’s leading smartphone vendor, while Apple remains the industry’s leading player in terms of revenues and profit. Also notable, a  gap between Samsung and market leader Nokia is narrowing fast…

With all of the handsets in the picture, the difference between Samsung and Nokia is now less than an IDC-estimated 20 million units. Samsung also chasing the stumbling Finnish giant for the title of the world’s #1 phone maker in units is a big thing, especially if they topple Apple as the smartphone king in the process. Samsung stopped reporting phone and tablet sales amid competition from Apple, but various estimates pinpoint their June quarter smartphone shipments just shy of 20 million units. The company also bowed to Apple by pledging not to sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until its legal spat with Apple is settled or they win court approval. 

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