Nokia has woken up to the news that for the first time since 1998, it is no longer the largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, after sales of Samsung's smartphone handsets surged ahead during the first quarter.
The South Korean electronics conglomerate revealed that it had shipped 92 million phones worldwide in the first three months of the year, versus 82 million from Nokia.
Its net profit nearly doubled to 5.05tn Won (£2.75bn) on sales of 45.27tn Won, up 22% year-on-year. Samsung said that nearly 70% of its operating profit came from mobiles, as its semiconductor business was spotted in full retreat.
Although the vendor has not yet wrested the number one spot in smartphone shipments from Apple, the "changing of the guard" is still a significant moment for the industry, according to IHS senior principal analyst Ian Fogg.
"Cellphone market growth is now being generated exclusively by the smartphone segment, and not by the feature phones, entry-level cellphones and ultra-low-cost handsets that had fuelled the industry's expansion over the previous decade," said Fogg.
"Samsung is reaping the rewards of strong execution in product design, distribution and marketing.... Meanwhile Nokia is in the midst of transitioning its smartphone strategy, resulting in declining shipments," he added.
According to IHS, Samsung has also played a canny move in hedging its bets when it comes to mobile operating systems, with devices running Android, Windows Phone and its own Bada platforms. This is in contrast to Nokia and Apple, which rely on one OS each.
Stats suggest that while smartphone shipments are set to rise 35% this year, feature phones and other devices will all fall backwards. In 2013, the analyst house reckons, smartphone sales will bust through another signficant milestone, accounting for over half of all mobile phones sold for the first time ever.
Image courtesy: Samsung