Apple is out in front in the smartphone manufacturing race

Samsung and Nokia take Silver and Bronze, but it's all to play for

Gone are the days that owning an iPhone made you a forward-thinking early adopter. Look to your left on the bus and there's an OAP with an iPhone these days. Look to your right and there's probably a Blackberry-toting teenager.

And now it's official – well, kind of. Apple is now the world's largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, according to research by IDC, after a 141.7% increase in shipments between 2010 and 2011. We suspect that might have something to do with the iPhone 4.

Apple shipped 19.1% of all smartphones that were made in the last three months, with Samsung closing in at 17.3% and Nokia at 16.7%. RIM, the makers of Blackberry, and HTC make up the rest of the top five. Place your bets now for the second half of 2011 – but don't forget the rumoured Septmber launch date for the iPhone 5, HTC's bumper announcement yesterday that it's adding eight smartphones to its range and Blackberry's new crop of Bold and Torch models.

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