As per figures provided by iSuppli Mobile and Wireless Communications Service, Samsung is set to claim the top rank in the mobile handset market at the end of 2012, dethroning Nokia in the process, who has been undefeated for the last 14 years. The South Korean giant is expected to account for 29 percent of the global cellphone shipments, an increase from 24 percent in 2011. Nokia, on the other hand, will see its market share drop to 24 percent, a dip from its previous share of 30 percent in 2011. 

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Samsung leading smartphone pack (Image credit: Getty Images)

The report adds that Nokia's fall will make way for Samsung's rise to first place for the full year of 2012. The South Korean giant held the second position last year, and it is the first time that it will claim the top position on a yearly basis. Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS, commented, “The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone. Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market—and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.”

As for global smartphone shipments, the report projects that it will rise by 35.5 percent this year, while total cellphone shipments are set to rise by roughly 1 percent. Interestingly, the fast growth will cause the smartphone penetration in the running to go up to 47 percent,  up from 35 percent in 2011. 

Elaborating further, the report shares that the success of Samsung in this sphere can be attributed to its 'fast follower' strategy for design and manufacturing. The company is known to produce several smartphone models each year, addressing the myriad segments of the market – high-end to the low-end. “Samsung monitors the big trends in smartphone design, user needs and unmet market opportunities, then creates products to fit those markets quickly and efficiently,” the company adds further. 

As for Nokia, the company is known to have involved in taking its line of smartphones to the Windows operating system, causing its shipments to decline. The Finnish giant's Symbian-based phones' sales have dipped and the performance of its newer Microsoft Windows 7-running handsets hasn't been up to the mark as yet. 

As for smartphone-wise performance, the South Korean giant is projected to do the best among the Top 5 Smartphone Brands in the running year. Samsung's share in global smartphone shipments is expected to rise 8 points to 28 percent – up for 20 percent last year. Nokia, on the other hand, is expected to  meet its steepest fall, with its shares being expected to fall by 11 points to 5 percent in 2012 – a drop from 16 percent in 2011. 

Warring giants Samsung and Apple rounded up their battle for smartphone market domination last year with just a percentage point in between. In 2012, though, the South Korean giant climbed up the ladder owing to its wide range of Android smartphone offerings. The company managed to do well in both the high-end and the low cost market with its Galaxy line of smartphones. 

“This diversified market approach has allowed Samsung to address a larger target audience for its phones than Apple’s limited premium iPhone line,” notes the report further. Samsung and Apple, according to the report, accounted for 49 percent of the shipments in 2012 – an increase from 39 percent in 2011. Nokia and Canada's Research in Motion held double digit market shares last year; in the running year, only Samsung and Apple each can claim to have double digit space in the smartphone market. 

Taiwan-based HTC and RIM reportedly did not do too well through this year as far as smartphones go. In the Android smartphone market, HTC is facing stiff competition from Samsung. This year, HTC's market share will dip to 5 percent, from 9 percent last year. 

RIM too has seen its market share dip with the delay in the release of its new OS. This year, the Canadian company will see its share dip to 5 percent, from 11 percent last year. 

The report further projects that the smartphone penetration rate next year will take the segment to the majority of all phone segments at 56 percent. 

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