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SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean handset maker LG Electronics Inc. captured the No. 3 spot in the North American smartphone market in 2012 on strong sales of its new premium brands, data showed Friday.
In terms of shipments, LG accounted for 7.1 percent of the smartphone market last year, trailing its bigger rivals Apple Inc. with 37.6 percent and Samsung Electronics with 26.6 percent, according to the data by market researcher Strategy Analytics.
LG overtook Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp. and Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry in the market last year.
It is the first time that LG has become the third-largest smartphone seller in the North American market since its entry into the high-end handset segment.
LG's ranking in the North American market rose to fifth in 2011 from seventh in 2009 and sixth in 2010.
LG said last year's stellar performance is attributable to the release of its high-end smartphone models including a Connect 4G phone for the VoLTE service, which offers voice calls through the fourth-generation long-term evolution (LTE) network.
In addition, rave reviews of LG's LTE patents contributed to a rise in sales of its smartphones, LG said.
U.S. investment bank Jefferies & Co. and technology and intellectual property research firm TechIPm LLC. rated LG Electronics as the world's top possessor of technology patents related to the fourth-generation LTE network in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
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