Nokia loses global cellphone lead to Samsung for first time since 1998

Samsung is a force in the smartphone world and just ousted Nokia for the global cellphone lead, which Nokia has led since 1998.

The first quarter is always a bit slow after the big holiday mobile phone season, but today we see data that brings a tear to my eye. According to IHS data, Nokia lost the global cellphone lead for the first time since 1998 as Samsung overtook them with 92 million cellphones shipped in the first quarter of 2012. Apple still leads in smartphone sales, but Samsung is in second there too and is the new force to be reckoned with.

I have been a fan of Nokia phones for about 10 years, but the times are changing and I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this news. I know that Nokia has fallen quickly in the smartphone market, but thought their Series 40 cellphones would keep them in the global cellphone lead for some time. Samsung now claims the title of global cellphone leader and I imagine that will continue to grow with their feature phones and Bada phones.

This quote from the report is quit telling, "Smartphones represented 34 percent of Samsung's handset shipments in the first quarter. In contrast, smartphones accounted for just 14 percent of Nokia’s shipments."

In the smartphone market, Apple shipped 35 million phones with Samsung right behind at 32 million. Nokia is down 39% to just 12 million smartphones sold in the first quarter and has their work cut out with their focus on Windows Phone that is having serious issues gaining consumer adoption. IHS stated that there was no data provided yet for HTC or Motorola since they haven't posted their first calendar quarter results for 2012, but neither of these companies will be fighting it out for one of the top two spots anyway.

With the Galaxy S III announcement coming next week and a new iPhone likely several months away, it is likely that Samsung will pass Apple in the smartphone market soon as well.