Apple, Samsung Eclipse Nokia

CUPERTINO, Calif. (TheStreet) — Apple(AAPL_) and Samsung, which reported its second-quarter results early Friday, jumped over long-time leader Nokia(NOK_) to take the top two market share spots in the smartphone sector.

In the second quarter, Apple shipped 20.3 million smartphones, topping Samsung’s 19.2 million and Nokia’s 16.7 million.

Already the world’s largest smartphone vendor in terms of revenue and profit, the iPhone maker is now the largest smartphone player by volume, according to research shop Strategy Analytics, which says that Apple clinched 18.5% of the market, up from 13.5% in the prior year’s quarter. Nokia, in contrast, has seen its share plunge from 38.1% to 15.2%, amid a major operating system migration to Microsoft’s(MSFT_) Windows Phone 7 software.
Delays of the next-generation iPhone has done little to quell consumer and enterprise desire for Apple’s iconic products. Earlier this month the company reported blowout results, with iPad sales numbering 9.3 million, well above the expected 8 million.
Samsung’s smartphone share has soared over the past year, from 5% to 17.5%, boosted by sales of its latest Galaxy Android phones.
Sales of devices such as the new Galaxy SII boosted Samsung’s second-quarter telecom profit and fueled a 45% year-over-year hike in its mobile revenue. Samsung’s overall profit, however, plunged 18% year-over-year on weakness in its semiconductor and display panel businesses.

Also tapping the Android boom is Motorola Mobility(MMI_), which reported solid second-quarter earnings Thursday. The handset maker shipped 4.4 million smartphones, in line with analysts’ estimates, and 440,000 Xoom tablets, nicely above the 300,000 predicted.

Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski noted Motorola’s strong international growth in mobile devices, which was up 136% year-over-year. “[This can] more than offset a meaningful decline at top [U.S.] customer Verizon(VZ_) as a result of Verizon’s shift in focus to the iPhone and its LTE portfolio,” she said in a note.

Jankowski nonetheless lowered her Motorola price target from $34 to $31 amid concern about weakening margins, highlighted by the company’s weaker-than-expected outlook.

“Our longer-term concern remains increasing smartphone competition from larger Android OEMs,” said Michael Walkley, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, nodding to Samsung and HTC. Taiwanese tech giant HTC shipped a massive 12.1 million smartphones during its own second-quarter results, an increase of 123.7% year-over-year.

While Motorola has hardly been a slouch in the industry — it has steadily been releasing a slew of new Androids abroad and stateside since the debut of its original Droid in 2009 — questions about its execution remain.

Important launches for the company have been badly delayed this year, including the Bionic, which was supposed to be Verizon’s first super-fast, 4G phone (HTC won the title with its Thunderbolt). The Bionic is expected to arrive at Verizon sometime in the coming weeks.

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Analyst firm Gleacher & Company estimates that Motorola has lost 10 points of Android share year-over-year, despite growing its Android device shipments 79% over the same period.
Shares of Motorola Mobility dipped 22 cents, or 0.96%, to $22.69 on Friday, while Apple dipped 68 cents to $391.14.