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Samsung: 'We'll nick Nokia's global mobe crown this year'

Cocky S Korean biz bats aside Apple in race to the top

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CES 2012 Samsung is feeling confident that it can ship more handsets than Nokia this year, making it pretty much the top mobile phone company in the world.

The South Korean firm has already surpassed Apple as the world's biggest smartphone maker, so if it can overtake Nokia in all handsets, it will take the lead in the competitive field.

Samsung chief executive Choi Gee-Sung told Reuters at CES in Las Vegas that his company was already making more revenue than the Finnish firm, as of its last reported quarter, and he thought Sammy could top Nokia's shipments this year.

In the third quarter last year, according to beancounting firm Gartner, Samsung shipped 78.6 million handsets as opposed to Nokia's 105.4 million. However, the gap between the two was already narrowing: in the third quarter the year before, Nokia sent out 117.5 million phones and Samsung handed over 71.7 million.

Samsung's mobile business has come along in leaps and bounds, mostly due to the popularity of its Android-packing Galaxy range of smartphones.

The South Korean consumer electronics giant is locked in a wide-ranging, global patent dispute with Apple over the aforementioned handsets, which the fruity firm asserts are "slavish" copies of the iPhone. So far, however, the courtroom showdowns aren't hitting Samsung's sales, with wins and losses on both sides more or less cancelling each other out and the media coverage only aiding Sammy's marketing.

While the smartphone market is pretty much a two-horse race now between Samsung and Apple, with HTC and Research in Motion as well as Nokia losing ground all through last year, in terms of overall handset figures, Nokia is clinging on to the lead - don't forget its cheaper handsets are still popular in the developing world.

However, despite a partnership with Microsoft on smartphones and repeated attempts to make a comeback, Nokia has failed to ignite enough passion for its high-end models.

Even so, if Samsung manages to overtake the Finnish firm, it'll be a coup for a company. Sammy barely existed in the mobile market a few years ago yet could topple the market's leader of the last 14 years. ®

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