Galaxy S7 Edge hottest Android phone for first half of 2016

The S7 Edge was the top seller thanks in part to its curved sidebar of apps, which consumers find simple to use, says research firm Strategy Analytics.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge has topped all other Android smartphones in shipments.

CNET

Samsung has edged out its Android rivals with a clutch of best-selling smartphones.

Over the first half of the year, Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge was the most popular Android phone, according to a report released late Monday by Strategy Analytics. Samsung shipped an estimated 13.3 million units of the S7 Edge, which snagged a 2.3 percent cut of all Android phones shipped globally over the first six months of 2016.

That's another sign of welcome change for the electronics giant. Until recently, Samsung had been suffering from a sharp decline in smartphone sales. Then along came the S7 lineup, which triggered heavy consumer demand and revived the company's fortunes with a healthy upturn in revenue over the past two quarters.

Samsung is now getting ready to unveil its jumbo Galaxy Note 7 and hoping to capitalize on the popularity of its predecessors.

Meanwhile, shipments of Apple's iPhones fell 16 percent to 91.6 million from 108.7 million during the first half of the year, compared with the first half of 2015. Even so, the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 joined the Galaxy S7 Edge among the three most popular smartphones in that period.

The striking design of the S7 Edge likely played a role in capturing consumers' attention. Its curved edges allow room for apps and other content, a feature that Strategy Analytics said people found simple to use. The Note 7 reportedly will adopt the same dual-sided feature.

Samsung took home more than just the No. 1 spot.

The Galaxy J2 scored second place with estimated shipments of 13 million units and a 2.3 percent share of all Android phones shipped. The J2 is a more budget-friendly phone that's proven popular in emerging markets. In third place was the flagship Galaxy S7 with estimated shipments of 11.8 million and a 2 percent share of all Android phones shipped over the first half of the year. In fourth and fifth place, respectively, were Samsung's J5 and J3 phones.

The breadth of the company's lineup has a lot to do with Samsung's overall success.

"Samsung has the most extensive distribution, very high brand awareness and a wide range of good-looking, user-friendly products," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston told CNET.

Still, Samsung faces a challenge from a number of Chinese manufacturers, which are experiencing increased demand for their phones. China's Oppo saw its shipments skyrocket 137 percent in the second quarter of 2016, compared with the same period a year earlier, Strategy Analytics said in a report released last week. At the same time, its market share rose to 5.3 percent from 2.2 percent.

"Samsung cannot rest on its laurels," Strategy Analytics director Woody Oh said in the report, "because it continues to be chased hard by emerging rivals, such as the Huawei P9, Oppo R9 and Vivo X7 devices."

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