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Apple will finally surpass Nokia in smartphone shipment volumes this year, shipping nearly twice as many iPhones as it did last year, according to a report by Digitimes Research.

Apple is expected to ship 86.4 million iPhones this year, up 82 percent from 2010. Nokia’s smartphone shipments, meanwhile, will fall to 74.4 million units this year from over 100 million last year.

The news is a reminder of just how far Nokia has fallen from grace, and how much influence Apple holds by being the only manufacturer of the iPhone. While the combined number of Android phones shipping is still larger than the number of iPhones, the fact that Apple is set to become the world’s single largest smartphone manufacturer is notable.

Digitimes Research analyst Luke Lin notes that third-place Samsung will see the highest shipment growth this year, up 44 million units from last year to 67 million. That’s mostly due to the continued popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy S line from last year, this year’s successor the Galaxy S II, and continued growth of Samsung’s low-end Bada smartphone line.

Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE are expected to see significant growth this year as well — mainly because they weren’t really in the game in past years. Huawei is expected to see more than a 400 percent rise in shipments (from 3.3 million units last year to 18.7 million in 2011), and ZTE’s shipments are expected to jump 330 percent to 14.2 million units.

Worldwide smartphone shipments will reach 462 million units this year, says Digitimes, up 60 percent from 288 million last year.

Photo via Ed Yourdon


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