Samsung Replaces Nokia as Top Handset Maker

For the first time in 14 years, Nokia is no longer the top global cellphone maker. Samsung is set to seize the mobile handset market’s top spot at the end of 2012, reports market researcher iSuppli. Nokia’s share this year will drop to 24 percent, down from 30 percent last year.

Samsung is expected to account for 29 percent of worldwide cellphone shipments, up from 24 percent in 2011, according to the IHS iSuppli Mobile and Wireless Communications Service.

Meanwhile, in the global smartphone market, Samsung and Apple are the dominant players. Last year they were neck-and-neck for leadership, with only 1 percentage point of market share separating them. This year, Samsung’s global smartphone shipments pulled ahead by 8 points to 28 percent, up from 20 points in 2011. Apple gained 1% to a 20% share globally. In contrast, Nokia will suffer the biggest decrease in smartphone share, plunging by 11 points to 5 percent in 2012. That’s down from 16 percent in 2011.

The Samsung and Apple duopoly represents the dominant force in the smartphone market, with the two companies accounting for 49 percent of shipments in 2012, up from 39 percent in 2011.

Samsung now holds 46% of the Android ecosystem, says Millennial Media.

Stephen Elop spoke to CNET on the cultural shift at Nokia, why he went with AT&T as an exclusive partner, and what keeps him up at night.

C/Net: I know I’ve asked you this before, but why Windows Phone? Why bet on an operating system that so few people have heard about or embraced?

Elop: The single most important word is differentiation. It was about having to make a decision that allows us to stand out separately and distinctly.

With the Lumia 920, the product is differentiated based on Nokia innovation, but you also see a fundamental point of differentiation because it is a Windows Phone device.

We didn’t want to schlep into a carrier and tell them why our Android phone is better.

Apple’s global introduction of the iPhone 5 was Sept. 21, and more than 5 million devices were sold in the nine countries and territories that participated in the first wave of sales, Apple said in a Sept. 24 statement. Apple sold more than 2 million of its latest handsets in the three days following its Dec. 14 introduction in China, reports Bloomberg.

Strategy Analytics forecasts that LTE smartphone shipments will zoom to 275 million next year, up from 91 million this year, thanks largely to Apple and Samsung.

The number of commercial LTE networks will continue to grow next year, with 209 networks expected to be up and running by the end of next year compared to an estimated 166 in 2012, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association. Major countries driving LTE growth next year will include the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China and South Korea. The most popular LTE bands world-wide are 1.8 GHz, 2.6GHz and 700 MHz, in that order.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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