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A very interesting shift has occurred in the mobile phone market. Finnish phone maker Nokia has overtaken a strong Asian lead in camera-enabled cell phones, according to consultants Strategy Analytics. And Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, the European based joint venture between Sony and Ericsson, is tied for second place with Samsung. Former leader NEC has dropped into fourth place.

Camera phones sales, fourth quarter 2003 (units sold)

1. Nokia: 4.5 million
2. Sony Ericsson: 3.9 million
2. Samsung: 3.9 million
4. NEC: 3.4 million
5. Panasonic; 3.1 million

The new figures are published in the Wall Street Journal (subscription needed) and are quoted on several other news services, like Silicon.com.

The statistics from 2003 also reveals the fact that Motorola, which ranks second in the world in total mobile phone sales, is not even among the top five in camera phones.

Maybe the most surprising thing in these figures is the rise of Sony Ericsson. This cross between a Swedish telecom giant and a Japanese consumer electronics behemoth used to be a $700 million money pit. Now, not only is it second in the world in camera phones, for the first time it is also showing profit. A story in Fortune has more on Sony Ericsson.

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