Smartphone shipments grew by 9% in the third quarter, a record for a single quarter, which continues a record-setting trend, research firm IDC said Tuesday.

The fourth quarter is also expected to be strong for smartphones, which could result in 1 billion smartphones shipping for the entire year, compared with 500 million units shipped in all of 2011, IDC said.

The total shipped in the third quarter was 258.4 million, beating the previous record high of 237 million smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2013.

The double-quarter record smartphone shipments in 2013 "show the real momentum of the smartphone market," said IDC analyst Ryan Reith, in a statement.

China now accounts for more than a third of all shipments, making it one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets. Prices for smartphones have also declined, largely because of low-cost Android products, IDC said.

IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said that after top seller Samsung and Apple ranking second, "a tight race of vendors [is] trying to break out from the pack." He noted in the third quarter that China-based vendors Huawei and Lenovo moved up past South Korea-based LG Electronics, while Coolpad and ZTE, also from China, are not far behind.

"Android...has been a huge factor in their success," Llamas said, while noting that Android vendors are also challenged to show how their phones differ from one another.

Looking at individual vendors, Samsung shipped more smartphones than the next four vendors combined, shipping 81.2 million smartphones (31.4% of the total) in the third quarter. Apple was second with 33.8 million (13.1%); Huawei was third with 12.5 million (4.8%); Lenovo was fourth with 12.3 million (4.7%) and LG was fourth with 12.0 million (4.6%).

When smartphones are combined with other mobile phones, Samsung still leads, with 115.4 million shipped in the third quarter (24.7% of the total), nearly double what Nokia shipped, at 64.6 million (13.8%). Apple ranked third, with its 33.8 million (7.2%), followed by LG with 16.8 million (3.6%) and then Huawei with 14.6 million (3.1%). Overall mobile phone shipments reached 467.9 million in the third quarter, IDC said.

The numbers are similar to those reported Monday by research firm Strategy Analytics, which said Samsung shipped more than 88 million smartphones in the quarter, up 55% from the same quarter last year, for a a record 35% market share.

This article, Smartphone growth still racing ahead at record pace, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

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