Analysts: Apple, Samsung expected to win big in Q4 smartphone bonanza

Smartphone sales are expected to have lifted the overall smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a Reuters poll, but holiday sales could serve to highlight widening gaps between those surging ahead in the market and firms struggling to catch up.

According to a Reuters poll of 32 banks, brokerages and research firms, global handset sales are expected to be up around 10.8 percent in the quarter. However, overall growth is expected to dip to 8.4 percent for all of 2011, the poll showed.

In the fourth quarter, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung are expected to be the big winners in terms of market share. Apple is expected to report strong earnings on the back of iPhone and iPad sales--the company reports its fourth-quarter results this afternoon. (Check back here for full coverage of Apple's earnings.)

Likewise, Samsung is expected to benefit from strong sales of its Galaxy S line of phones powered by Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. Samsung wound up selling over 10 million Galaxy S units worldwide in 2010; Samsung reports earnings Jan. 28.

Other companies in focus will be Nokia (NYSE:NOK), which released its flagship Symbian smartphone, the N8, this fall, and is hoping for a hit device. Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) likely will highlight its continued focus on Android smartphones, though its 2011 outlook will be key; Motorola split into two publicly traded companies earlier this month. Both Nokia and Motorola report earnings Jan. 27. 

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this FierceWireless Q4 earnings page

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