Handset sales hit 1 billion mark, led by Nokia

Mobile phone sales surpassed the 1 billion benchmark in 2007, according to data issued by market research firm Gartner. More than 1.15 billion handsets were sold worldwide in 2007, a 16 percent increase over the 990.9 million phones sold the previous year--Gartner credits developing markets for the sales increase, adding that in the developed world, numbers were boosted by consumers seeking more feature-rich replacements for their existing handsets. "Emerging markets, especially China and India, provided much of the growth as many people bought their first phone," said Gartner research director Carolina Milanesi in a statement. "In mature markets, such as Japan and Western Europe, consumers' appetite for feature-laden phones was met with new models packed with TV tuners, global positioning satellite functions, touch screens and high-resolution cameras."

Gartner reports that Nokia remains the market leader, gaining 40 percent market share during the fourth quarter and selling roughly 435 million devices in 2007. Embattled Motorola was the big loser, slipping to third place in terms of total market share while rivals LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson all gained market share. Gartner forecasts handset sales will slip in 2008, with sales growing only 10 percent due to saturation in the North American and Western European markets. Gartner also notes the emergence of new handset players including low-cost device maker ZTE as well as Apple and Research In Motion.  

For more on the Gartner handset report:
- read this CNET article

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