Can Anyone Touch Apple and Samsung in the Smartphone Space?

The global smartphone market is certainly a place of haves and have-nots. 

Incumbents like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) rule the roost, making the entirety of the profits in the global smartphone market (by some accounts). However, there's a rising cadre of second-tier names seeing their market shares expand rapidly, including HTC, Lenovo, and LG, as we saw from IDC's Q3 smartphone market share figures.

Vendor Q3 '13 Unit Shipments Q3 '13 Market Share
Samsung 81.2 31.4%
Apple 33.8 13.1%
Huawei 12.5 4.8%
Lenovo 12.3 4.7%
LG 12 4.6%
Other 106.6 41.3%

Source: IDC (units in millions)

However, progress from these emerging powers might not be as useful as some investors think.

Losing while still winning
Sadly for some of these emerging names, not all growth is created equal. As much as they might hate to admit it, much of the money that's to be made in the global smartphone space is at the higher end of the market, and this is undisputedly Apple's and Samsung's turf.

Names like LG and HTC aren't sitting idly. Both have made attempts to roll out flagship handsets this year. However, as is becoming sadly evident as sales figures emerge, these companies simply can't compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung where it counts most.

In the video below, tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner looks at this important trend in the smartphone market.

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