Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (Seoul, South Korea) will become the world's largest smartphone maker this quarter, overtaking Nokia Oyj (Espoo, Finland) which has lead the market since 1996, Nomura, a provider of investment and global market capabilities, said on Monday.
In the next quarter Nomura also predicts Apple Inc (Cupertino, Calif.) overtaking Nokia, pushing the Finnish company to No. 3 in the rankings.
Research firms Gartner and Canalys both said they saw Nokia -- which created the smartphone market with its 1996 launch of the Communicator model -- losing smartphone volume leadership later this year.
"If Nokia's new phones are not well received in the third quarter and (with) the Galaxy S2 ramping up, Samsung might overtake them and become the smartphone leader in Q3," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
Nokia has lost initiative in the smartphone market to Apple's iPhone and Google Inc's Android devices. Overall, Nokia still makes more cellphones than Samsung due to its strong position in basic cellphones and its wider distribution network in emerging countries.
The company is switching to Microsoft Corp's software from its own Symbian platform as part of an overhaul set out in February by new Chief Executive Stephen Elop. On May 31 Nokia abandoned hope of meeting key targets just weeks after setting them.
(Editing by David Holmes and Jon Loades-Carter)