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Samsung eyes Nokia's No. 1 position after Q1 drubbing

The fall of the Finnish firm has been rapid over the last few months as in a similar poll in January it was still expected to stay far ahead of Samsung.

Samsung Electronics has ended Nokia's 14-year rein at the top of the global cell phone market in the first quarter of 2012, outselling the struggling Finnish handset maker for the first time ever.

Analysts expect the Korean company to have sold 88 million cell phones in January-March quarter surpassing Nokia's 83 million. Samsung is due to release its quarterly numbers on April 27.

Nokia had announced its total sales on April 11 when it warned of losses from the phones business in the first and second quarter.

The Finnish handset maker has struggled for several years in the smartphone race, but its dominance in the lower end of the market has allowed it to keep its rank as the world's largest cell phone maker by volume.

The fall of the Finnish firm has been rapid over the last few months as in a similar poll in January it was still expected to stay far ahead of Samsung.

Nokia became the world's largest cell phone maker in 1998 when it overtook Motorola - at a time when Samsung had just entered the industry - and controlled 40 per cent of the market before Apple's iPhone was unveiled in 2007, launching the smartphone boom.

Some analysts said losing the top spot would be a blow to Nokia, but would have little impact on its attempt to turn around its fortunes.

With agency inputs