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Samsung grabs 'World's biggest handset-maker' title off Nokia

'The coffee mugs too, mate. Hand 'em over...'

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Nokia’s 14-year reign as world’s largest handset maker is finished. The Finnish mobile firm must now hand the crown to Samsung following the publication of preliminary market numbers.

Samsung will account for 29 per cent of worldwide cellphone shipments for the whole of 2012, putting it atop the global leader board, analyst IHS iSuppli has said. The number compares to 24 per cent of the market during 2011 for Samsung.

Nokia’s share for the full year, meanwhile, is expected to be 24 per cent, putting it in second behind Samsung. Last year Nokia's share was 30 per cent.

Nokia has occupied the number one position since 1998.

Samsung is also expected to consolidate its hold on the number-one position in smartphones, ending last year’s neck-and-neck race with Apple and leaving the Cupertino computer-maker stranded in second place on the world stage.

Samsung smartphone shipments are expected hit 28 per cent, up from 20 per cent, with Apple on 20 per cent – up a single percentage point over 2011. Nokia, meanwhile, will suffer the biggest decrease for the year on smartphones, plunging to 5 per cent this year down from 16 per cent in 2011.

It’s smartphone growth that’s driving the handset market and the success of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones has helped propel the South Korean electronics maker to the top. Conversely, Nokia is being pulled down by the death of Symbian handset sales and the struggle to ignite the transition to Windows Phone from Microsoft. Apple, meanwhile, is limited in its range of phones while Samsung has an array of feature and smartphones.

In a statement, IHS wireless communications senior analyst Wayne Lam said: "The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was 'live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone'." ®

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