Analysts expect Apple, HTC, Samsung to dominate handsets in Q2

As the second-quarter earnings season gets under way, analysts expect Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), HTC and Samsung to take in the lion's share of the gains in the global handset market, with industry stalwarts Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and LG continuing to lose share.

According to a poll of 46 analysts conducted by Reuters, analysts are increasingly confident that Samsung could supplant Nokia as the world's largest smartphone maker by volume in the second quarter. Analysts predict Samsung will sell around 19 million smartphones in the quarter, powered by models like the Galaxy S II, which has sold more than 3 million units since April.

Taiwan's HTC already reported second-quarter earnings and said handset shipments topped 11 million, more than the 5.4 million it shipped in the year-ago period. HTC said its net profit more than doubled to $608 million, up from $299 million in the year-ago period. Sales also exceeded expectations, coming in at $4.32 billion.

Apple is expected to ship 16.9 million iPhones during the quarter, more than double its shipments from the year-ago period but less than the 18.6 million it shipped in the first quarter. Analysts said interest in the iPhone 4 is starting to wane in advance of a new model.

Others, however, have already signaled that the second quarter will be rough. In late May Nokia slashed its forecast for its key devices and services business for the second quarter, warning that net sales will be "substantially below" its previous forecast. And LG just last week sharply cut its full-year sales targets for both smartphones and handsets overall, and said it remains unclear when its handset business will turn around.

"We expect second quarter earnings to reveal a widening gulf between the winners and losers and further illustrate the 'changing of the guard' as Apple, HTC and Samsung continue to increase market share," CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber told Reuters.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

Special Report: Wireless in the second quarter of 2011

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