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In a market dominated by the likes of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices, it’s difficult enough for alternative OEMs – let alone those of different ecosystems – to get any kind of look in. But Nokia has defied odds by managing to sell an incredible 4.4 million Lumia devices in the last quarter. If you were surprised by the figures, the Finnish company is, itself, pleasantly taken aback, noting of how the vast quantities have "exceeded expectation".

The numbers take into account older devices as well as newer entries, and although it seemed as though Nokia was fighting an almost un-winnable fight by trying to re-establish itself as a smartphone force in adopting the Windows Phone platform, the company looks to be battling through. Stephen Elop, Nokia’s Chief Executive Officer, has dreams of a double-digit share of the smartphone market, and although the presence of other popular devices besides the aforementioned only serve to make the possibility of those targets being met just that little bit harder, Nokia’s financial results for Q4 2012 suggest they may be attainable.

As well as managing to shift 4.4 million Lumia smartphones, the company also managed to sell 9.3 million Asha full-touch devices, along with 2.2 million Symbian handsets. It’s worth noting that this is the first time Nokia’s Windows Phone division has outsold the Symbian range, and if you apply the basic math, you’ll notice that it Lumia devices sold twice as many as their Symbian counterparts.

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The Lumia sales figures – doubtlessly boosted by the introduction of two new handsets, one new ecosystem in Windows Phone 8, and the holiday period – saw a 52% increase on those of the previous quarter.

As many of you will know, I’m currently testing out the legitimacy of Windows Phone 8 as a serious competitor to Android and iOS, and using a Nokia Lumia 820 in order to so so. Echoing the sentiments of Nokia, I would say it has exceeded my own expectations thus far, and I will have a full report on my experiences a week on Sunday.

Nokia Lumia 920 front shot colors

Sure, the figures still cut a fairly uninspiring figure alongside the market leaders, but Nokia and Elop have every reason to feel optimistic at this point. The smartphone market, in my opinion, needs a third runner, and if Windows Phone is to make significant inroads, Nokia will be at the heart of it.

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