Samsung, Apple and HTC-the fight between the 3 is reaching epic levels!

We have been hearing a lot on smartphones becoming affordable to reach out to new consumers. But then the phonemakers were losing out to another segment of customers- the premium ones.

The Smartphone heavyweights Samsung, Apple and Google are set to engage in a a major clash over the next few months to capture a larger share of premium phone users, with their latest models breathing new life into the high-end segment.

In the fray are South Korea's Samsung, which expanded its lead over Apple in January-August, followed at a distance by Taiwan's HTC. Sony, No. 3 in the segment last year, has dropped off the radar, data from Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed.

Following up on the launch of its flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in March, Samsung introduced Galaxy S6 edge+ in August and Galaxy Note 5 in September. Google Tuesday unveiled two devices - LG Nexus 5X and Huawei Nexus 6P - both premium smartphones, hitting the market just days before the iPhone 6s and iPhone6s Plus go on sale on Friday.

"The launches will ignite excitement in the segment," Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner told The Economic Times. "Premium smartphone is a critical part of phone makers' portfolio, including those that lead the market, because consumer demand to upgrade to the next new model is growing, although slowly, in India."

Big-ticket introductions are set to reinvigorate the segment. Premium smartphone shipments fell 26% to 1.77 million units in 2014 from a year earlier and climbed back up to 1.97 million as of August this year, according to CyberMedia Research.

Samsung and Apple have been taking turns at leading the market in the face of challengers such as China's Xiaomi, which offer comparable devices at lower prices. Samsung's S5 introduced in April last year was not well received by consumers as there was nothing substantial to differentiate it from the S4.

Apple led the segment with a 46% volume share in the January to August 2014 period, followed by Samsung with 34% and Sony with 12%. However, the tables turned in 2015.

Samsung expanded its share to 52% in January to August 2015 on the back of devices launched since February.

Apple lost some shine as its share dropped to 40% while HTC managed to claw up to 4%.

Analysts at the ET foresee little change in the market in the short to medium term.

(Image: Reuters)

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