Apple has been projected by DigiTimes Research, the market research and analysis arm of DigiTimes, to become the world’s top global smartphone vendor by shipment volume this year. According to new estimates released by the group on Tuesday, Apple’s iPhone unit shipments will climb 81.9% to 86.4 million in 2011, up from 47.5 million units last year. Smartphones shipped by the soon-to-be dethroned Nokia are projected to drop 25.8% from 100.3 million units in 2010 to 74.4 million in 2011, and Samsung is expected to move 191.3% more smartphones in 2011 than last year, with shipments totaling 67 million units. RIM will ship an estimated 55.7 million smartphones to slide to the No. 4 spot despite 12.8% growth over 2010, and HTC will round out the top-5 with 49.7 million units shipped. DigiTimes has previously cited anonymous sources from Apple’s supply chain in estimating that iPhone shipments would reach 95 million units this year, but an iPhone 5 launch coming later than expected is likely responsible for trimming this figure by nearly 10%. A chart mapping out DigiTimes Research’s 2011 projections follows below.

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Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.