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Samsung Steals Top Cellphone Brand Spot from Nokia, Still Beating Apple

Nokia is no longer top dog among cellphone makers worldwide. The honor now goes to Samsung, according to a new study from iSuppi. The swap in dominance marks the first time in 14 years that the Finnish company isn't the big seller. Samsung is projected to account for 29-percent of worldwide handset sales this year, up from 24 percent last year. 

“The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,’” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “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.”

Samsung is also solidly ahead of Apple, when it comes to the global cellphone market, possibly due to the company's wide range of Android-run Galaxy smartphones such as the Note II and S III. When you take Samsung and Apple shipments together, however, the two account for nearly 50 percent of shipments. 

Meanwhile RIM and HTC have had a rough year, both of which will need to make big changes in the new year to stay in the running.