Samsung is poised to overtake Nokia as the world's top cellphone brand this year, according to iSuppli's preliminary 2012 forecast. The researcher has published its expected rankings for the top five handset OEMs with Samsung accounting for 29% of the industry's shipments, up from 24% in 2011, followed by 24% for Nokia, down from 30% last year -- a shift that marks the first time in 14 years where Nokia isn't number one.
"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," said senior analyst Wayne Lam. The report notes that smartphones will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments in 2012, a 35.5% increase from last year, while overall cellphone shipments are only expected to increase by roughly 1%.
Or as Lam put it, mobile device makers were forced to live by the smartphone or die by the smartphone in 2012. Samsung's success is attributed to the company's streamlined scattershot approach of launching dozens of devices across all price points. Meanwhile, Nokia is in the middle of transitioning to Windows Phone -- a decision that was largely about product differentiation CEO Stephen Elop told CNET in a recent interview.
Samsung is also the top manufacturer when looking purely at smartphone figures, representing 28% of unit shipments, up from 20% last year and enough to distance itself from Apple, which accounted for 20% of the shipments this year and was only 1% behind Samsung last year. Nokia, HTC and RIM each represented 5% of overall smartphone shipments and occupied the bottom three spots on iSuppli's top-five list.
The Apple iPhone 5 is the latest flagship smartphone from Apple. The iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display retains the same 326 PPI density as its predecessor with an effective resolution of 1,126 x 640, and a new Lightning connector. The new handset now features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 802.11n supporting dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Bluetooth 4.0 is back in addition to GPS and GLONASS for location services.
The Nokia Lumia 920 features a Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4.5" IPS LCD with 768 x 1280 resolution (332 PPI). It packs an 8.7MP rear camera with a 2MP front-facing camera. The Lumia 920 runs Windows Phone 8 and is compatible with charging products based on the Qi wireless power standard. Other specs include, NFC, 1GB of RAM, and 32GB of memory with 7GB of free SkyDrive storage.
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