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Samsung Widening Lead Over Apple, Says Analysts

The introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S III helped increase sales lead over iPhone maker.

Samsung began distancing itself from Apple as the undisputed global leader in smartphone sales, according to a poll of 41 financial analysts released Monday by Reuters.

When the numbers for the quarter ending June 30 are finalized, Samsung will have sold some 50 million smartphones, compared to Apple's 30.5 million, Reuters reported.

Those numbers are in line with estimates of U.S. smartphone ownership released last week by Nielsen. The polling firm reported that 52 percent of U.S. smartphone users own Android phones, while 34.3 percent have iPhones.

Reuters noted that Samsung and Apple had been neck and neck for several quarters but with the release of the Galaxy S III in May, Samsung began to pull away from the iPhone maker.

Samsung is expected to be the smartphone "hero" of the second quarter, IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo told Reuters. It's expected to have shipped more smartphones than any vendor has in a single quarter, he added.

Earlier in the year, Samsung knocked Nokia off the cat bird's seat as the number one maker of cell phones in the world and in the quarter ending in June, it continued to pad its lead in that area, too. Samsungs total cell phone shipments for the period exceeded Nokia's by 15.7 million, according to Reuters.

While Galaxy S III sales have given Samsung an edge, its impact in the United States could be blunted if Apple can pull the phone into a patent lawsuit it has filed against the Korean company in California. That action has resulted in two Samsung devicesits Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and Galaxy Nexus smartphonebeing barred from sale in the United States. Apple has a motion pending to include the Galaxy S III as an infringing device in that case.

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