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Driven by Galaxy S8, Samsung retakes top spot in US

SEOUL - Samsung, with its latest flagship Galaxy S8, reclaims top spot from its rival Apple in the North American smartphone market.

Samsung Electronics has reclaimed the top spot in the North American smartphone market from its rival Apple, driven by strong sales of its latest flagship smartphone Galaxy S8, according to a US report.

In the second quarter, the world's largest smartphone maker by sales grabbed a 33 percent share in the US market, shipping 13.4 million units of smartphones, according to a report released by Strategy Analytics on Wednesday. Apple took a 25 percent share with 10.1 million units of sales in the same period.

The third spot went to LG Electronics, which had a 16.6 percent share and 6.6 million units of sales, followed by Chinese firms ZTE and TCL-Alcatel with an 11.1 percent share and a 4 percent share, respectively.

This is the first time Samsung has beat Apple in the US market since the second quarter of last year, when the Korean tech giant took a 32.7 percent share and Apple had a 24.5 percent share.

Samsung's strong sales during the period were driven by its latest flagship smartphone Galaxy S8, according to the report.

"The shipment of Samsung's smartphones rose 12 percent year-on-year as US consumers have posted very positive responses to the new S8 products," said Ken Hyers, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The Galaxy S8 sold 19.8 million units globally in the second quarter, driving Samsung's smartphone unit to post 4 trillion won ($3.5 billion) in operating profit. Although the profit falls short of the operating profit of 4.3 trillion won a year earlier, this is a recovery after plunging to 100 billion won in the third quarter of last year due to the discontinued sales of the Note 7 in October.

Samsung Electronics, however, is expected to face tougher competition in the second half of this year due to the launch of flagship models by its rivals.

"The first half is normally generous to Samsung, as there is no new product from Apple. It will face tougher competition in the latter half with Apple's iPhone 8 and LG's V30," said Kim Jong-ki, a researcher specializing in the mobile industry at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.

Apple is slated to debut its iPhone 8 around September, with new features including organic light-emitting diode panels, augmented reality functions and a facial recognition system. LG Electronics will unveil its V30 on Aug. 31 in Germany, sporting a full vision display with an 18:9 ratio. LG's new phone is expected to make or break its smartphone business, which has seen losses for nine straight quarters.

Samsung's Note 8, the first Note model since the discontinued sales of the Note 7 in October, will be unveiled on Aug. 23 in New York and will reportedly be launched in Korea on Sept. 15. The new flagship phablet will have a dual camera for the first time and the upgraded voice assistant Bixby.

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