Nokia has long been the world's top vendor when it comes to mobile Web use, but the precipitous decline in popularity of its Symbian platform and slow build of its Windows Phone business have toppled it, though just barely.
According to StatCounter's numbers, Nokia dropped from 37.67% in January 2012 to 22.15%. That's a decline of 15.52 percentage points. During the same time, Apple also saw its share decline, from 28.67% in January 2012 to 25.86% in the same month this year.
"It's good and bad news for Apple," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, in a statement. "Apple has been handed the number one spot despite its falling usage share. A decline in Nokia usage from January 2012 to January 2013 means the Finnish company ceded the top spot to Apple."
[ Despite what looked to be an early blowout and a mid-game power outage, the Super Bowl ultimately lived up to its hype on the field. But what about the commercials? BlackBerry, Samsung Super Bowl Ads: Only Semi-Successful. ]
But Samsung is coming on strong. Samsung rose from 14.84% to 22.69% over the same period, a gain of 7.85%.
"Samsung, in contrast to Apple, has seen an increase in its usage share since January 2012," added Cullen.
This data includes mobile Web access from Apple's iOS devices; Nokia's Windows Phone, Symbian and S40 devices; and Samsung's Android, Bada and Windows Phone devices. StatCounter didn't provide a breakdown of mobile Web use based on operating system.
StatCounter didn't provide any projections on how mobile Web use from these three hardware providers will shape up for 2013, but the trends are fairly clear. Nokia is on its way down, as is Apple to a lesser extent, while Samsung is on its way up. It would not be surprising for Samsung to steal the top spot from Apple before the year is out. iPhone 5 and iPad Mini notwithstanding, Samsung's continuing onslaught of Galaxy-branded Android smartphones have taken the world by storm.