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HTC tops Apple in Q3 US smartphones but predicts weak Q4

Taiwan smartphone maker HTC reported record sales of 13.2 million units worldwide, including 5.7 million in the US, prompting market research group Canalys to name it the top selling vendor in the country.

Canalys' report on the smartphone market for Q3 also named Samsung the worldwide leader in smartphones with shipments of 27.3 million globally, 4.9 million of which were sold in the US.

Apple's global sales of 17.07 million iPhones included US sales of 4.6 million handsets, placing it third in US smartphones.

However, throughout the third calendar quarter Apple continued to sell its year old iPhone 4 and two year old iPhone 3GS. The company reported that iPhone sales had declined across the quarter as buyers began to anticipate a new model introduction, although chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said he was "pleased" with the 21 percent growth in iPhone sales over the year ago quarter, when iPhone 4 was relatively new.

Looking forward, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said "I'm confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter," and Canalys noted pent up demand for the iPhone 4S, adding, "we expect to see a strong Q4 for Apple."

HTC, on the other hand, has warned that its Q4 sales will actually contract, offering guidance indicating that its smartphone sales will drop to between 12 and 13 million. For Q3, HTC had provided guidance of 13.5 million units, outlook that had appeared to be conservative but which the company narrowly missed.

HTC's chief financial officer Winston Yung blamed his company's weak outlook for the winter on the very competitive environment, specifically noting Apple's iPhone. For the first time ever, Apple's iPhone will be sold on three of the top four US carriers, in addition to new regional carriers.

Previously, Android phones have faced no direct competition from Apple on Sprint's network, and only began to be challenged by the iPhone on Verizon Wireless this spring.