Average smartphone shipments hit 204 million

Smartphone shipments hit 204.4 million in the first quarter, the average of figures from three analyst firms reveals.

Canalys is the latest firm to revealdata on Q1 smartphone shipments, estimating the number at 216.3 million units. The figure is around 16 million higher than recent estimates fromJuniper Research andABI Research, which put the number at 200 million and 197 million respectively.

Averaging out the three firms’ analysis of first quarter market growth shows a rise of 38.6%. Analysts at all of the companies agree Samsung increased its lead at the top of the market, and thatApple must up its game with the next iPhone.

Canalys principal analyst, Pete Cunningham, notes “HTC and Samsung have raised the bar with their latest handsets,” and that Apple’s user interface “is now six years old and badly in need of a refresh.” He predicts the vendor will increase the size of the smartphone’s screen, in line with current trends, but doesn’t expect a device straying too closely into tablet territory.