Samsung Is Now the Largest Phone Vendor, Take That, Nokia!

Today’s mobile news roundup features Samsung as the largest smartphone vendor, Guinness to recognize iOS and Android achievements, China Telekom’s Q1 report and more.

Samsung overtakes Apple and Nokia, reveals stellar Q1 report

Strategy Analytics reported that Samsung Electronics Co. is now the largest smartphone vendor, having taken the lead from Nokia and Apple Inc.

“Last year Samsung became No. 1 in Europe while Nokia retained the No. 1 position in most emerging markets,” Tom Kang, a Seoul-based research analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in an. “In the first quarter, we expect Samsung took a lot of market share from Nokia in Asia. China and India were the two biggest markets where Samsung gained.”

The report stated that global shipments of smartphones grew by 36% from the previous year to 93.5 million handsets in the first quarter, Samsung devices accounted for 31% market share with shipments rising 253% annually to 44.5 million units while Apple only shipped 35.1 million smartphones worldwide or 24% of the market.  Nokia, who held the title of largest phone vendor for 14 years, only managed to ship 82.7 million. Strategy Analytics stated that the increase in Samsung’s numbers is due to the strong demand in their Galaxy products such as the Galaxy SII, Y and Note.

“The company’s Galaxy range has proven a hit with consumers, and Samsung has leveraged its manufacturing and distribution prowess to meet the consumer demand and in the process has become the Android supplier of choice for operators and other retail channels,” said Ovum analyst Adam Leach.

Samsung’s Q1 net income is at  5.05 trillion won ($4.5 billion), more than what analysts estimated.

iOS and Android achievements to be put on record

The Guinness World Record is set to recognize high scores on iOS and Android games in the Top Mobile Gamer Challenge, which runs today, April 27, until the 29th.

Starting today, players of “Mega Jump,” “Slam Dunk Basketball” and “Monster Shooter,” available on both iOS and Android, will have their high scores uploaded via Klip, known for their Swarm technology rewards which offers real-life rewards for virtual achievements.  The overall highest scores for each game will be eligible for the Guinness records – winners names will be listed in the Guinness World Records 2013 Gamers Edition which will be published in January 2013.

China Telekom’s Q1 slump

China Telekom Corp., one of China’s major carriers, stated in an unaudited report that net profit fell by 6.5% compared to last year – 4.27 billion yuan ($677.2 million), down from 4.57 billion yuan last year.  But Telekom reported an operating revenue increase of 15.7% to 67.93 billion yuan from 58.72 billion yuan.

Though net income was down,  China Telecom Chief Executive Wang Xiaochu remained positive stating that, “mobile services continued to grow rapidly, demonstrating…rapid expansion in mobile customer scale and revenues as well as progressive increase in subscriber market share.”

Cell phone ban while driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 3,000 fatal traffic accidents nationwide in 2011 were due to distracted driving – i.e. talking to passengers, eating, changing radio stations, and cell phone use.

So in a distracted driving summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is pushing for banning cell phone use while driving in the US.  LaHood describes cell phone use while driving as a national epidemic which needs to be dealt with immediately.  Unfortunately, the epidemic can only be resolved through tough federal legislation.

“[E]veryone has a cell phone and too many of us think it is OK to talk on our phones while we are driving,” said LaHood during the summit, sponsored by insurance company USAA, the Texas Department of Transportation and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

But National Motorists Association president Gary Biller states that the US already has laws banning specific actions while driving, as they are covered by existing distracted-driving laws.  Biller argues that it would be better to invest resources  in campaigns that discourage inattentive driving in general rather than focusing on one area alone.

“It shouldn’t matter if the driver is distracted by a conversation with another vehicle passenger, tuning the radio, eating a snack, or talking on a cell phone,” Biller said in a statement. “Existing laws cover all those distractions and more.”

LaHood is also investigating hands-free, internet connected devices that comes with new cars today or can be installed in older cars.  He already contacted CEOs of major car companies and asked them to think twice before equipping cars with too many connected devices.  LaHood and his team are still studying whether these hands-free connected devices distract or help drivers.

Carriers look to Windows Phone devices for profit

Carriers can’t wait to get their hands on more Windows Phone-based devices.  Why?  Though Apple’s iPhone seems to be the top seller for carriers, subsidizing the device actually eats into their profits.  So they want a smartphone that’s comparable to the iPhone but doesn’t cost the carriers if sold with their plans.

“Mobile operators are sick of taking orders from Apple, [which is one] reason why carriers like AT&T and Verizon are backing Windows Phone,” said Yankee Group analyst Katie Lewis in a blog posted Wednesday. “IPhones are occupying an increasingly dangerous share of operators’ smartphone sales,” she wrote.