As smartphone shipments surpass feature phones, Samsung rules the galaxy

For the first time ever, more smartphones than feature phones shipped globally. Research firm IDC shared its data in a report on Friday, noting this historical highlight: of the¬†418.6 million handsets shipped during the first quarter of 2013, 216.2 million where smartphones. And in the battle for smartphone¬†supremacy, Samsung stole the show, shipping 70.7 million smartphones to Apple’s(s aapl) 37.4 million.

As these companies battle for the top spot, it’s interesting to note which competitors aren’t on the top five smartphone shipments list. Namely: HTC, BlackBerry(s bbry) and Nokia(s nok), all of which were on the list together as recently as the last quarter of 2011. Now it’s LG, Huawei and ZTE that round out the top five after Samsung and Apple.

It should be noted that Apple is the only vendor that reports sales and not shipments, but even that fact doesn’t support the idea that Apple outsold Samsung. It’s simply not a reasonable expectation that Samsung has 33.3 million smartphones sitting around in inventory worldwide.

Unless Samsung stumbles in a big way, it’s not likely that another Android(s goog) handset maker will outsell Apple’s iPhone any time soon. For all intents and purposes, Samsung is the de facto Android standard, having built a huge audience with its line of Galaxy smartphones. This strategy started in 2010 and, as we pointed out in mid-2011, Samsung was poised to become the smartphone king. Let’s see how long it keeps the crown.