Samsung might have overthrown Nokia in handset sales

Samsung just might have become the #1 seller of mobile phone handsets in the world in the first quarter of 2012.

That is what a Reuters poll of analysts has shown. According to projections, Samsung is expected to have sold around 88 million cell phones in the first three months of the year, while Nokia should only manage to reach around 83 million.

If the analyst projections are correct, it would be the first time in 14 years that Nokia will not be the company that sold the most handsets.

Yes, Nokia became the leader in mobile phone sales in 1998, and it has never once handed the crown over to someone else. Even though it has lost a huge amount of momentum in regions like the US and Europe, the company still has a huge presence in many parts of the world where there is literally no competition from other manufacturers.

Even as the company had to shut the door on its once-ubiquitous Symbian operating system and build a brand new smartphone strategy from the ground up, laying off thousands upon thousands of employees, it could at least still hang on to the fact that in the global market, it was still #1 in terms of unit sales.

To have lost that title will come as perhaps the biggest blow yet to a company that once defined the mobile industry and even more ironically, defined the smartphone of its time.

Nokia has started to build back some traction, so this isn’t just a story of the company getting buried; it’s also a testament to Samsung’s incredible growth. The company has built an amazing presence in the cell phone community and truly has become the best known name in mobile.