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While Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to gain market share in smartphone sales, primarily at the expense of Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) and Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), Samsung has overtaken all competitors as the leader in smartphone sales for 2012 Q1.

With a commanding 29.1% share of the market, nearly 5% over Apple, Samsung’s latest Galaxy lineup of products have been popular with consumers, with estimated shipments of 42.2 million units. This is up an astounding 267% from the 11.5 million that were shipped in Q1 of 2011.

In comparison, 35.1 million iPhones were shipped in the first quarter of 2012. This is also up strongly from the prior year, where only 18.6 million phones were shipped. The overall market for smartphones has been red hot, with a 42.5% increase in total shipments in the period. In terms of percentage of the total mobile market, smartphones now represent 36.4% of total mobile shipments in the first three months of 2012, compared to 25.2% in the first quarter of 2011. This shows the increased adoption of smartphone technology by consumers.

The increase in smartphone shipments has not benefited all players, however, with Nokia particularly hard hit. In 2012 Q1, Nokia shipped less than half of the units it shipped in the same quarter a year ago. Research in Motion, manufacturer of the Blackberry, was also hit by a decline in total smartphone shipments, down 29.7% to only 9.7 million units in Q1. This bodes particularly poorly for RIM, as they do not have the strong traditional mobile phone market to rely on like Nokia does. Nokia still maintains a 20.8% share of the total mobile market (including traditional mobile phones and smartphones), ahead of Apple but still trailing Samsung.  This may continue to decline as smartphones wrangle a higher percentage of total mobile sales as consumers increase adoption.

Apple had just recently reclaimed the smartphone title in 2011 Q4 from Samsung, however, it seems that title was shortly held.