By Maximilian Clarke

Samsung have been identified as the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer for Q3 2011, with a recent surge in sales pushing the Korean tech giant past Apple, IDC figures show.

Samsung’s growth comes despite a slowdown in global smartphone sales, which have been dented by reduced consumer confidence in the world’s two key markets- US and EU, and also by Apple’s late launch of its revamped 4S.

"Samsung's ascendancy to the leadership position is the direct result of its broad and deep product portfolio," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team. "Ever since the first Galaxy device launched last year, the company has aggressively expanded and refreshed its selection to include the latest innovations and most popular features. At the same time, its line-up of bada-branded smartphones has earned a welcome reception within key markets.

"At the same time, Samsung's position will be a challenge to maintain, both in the fourth quarter and beyond," added Llamas. "Apple's fourth quarter launch of the iPhone 4S and lower pricing of older models will certainly boost volumes, and Nokia's recent launch of Windows Phone smartphones marks the beginning of a new era for the company. While these point to larger volumes in the quarters to come, they will also lead to increased competition."

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