Report: 1.53b handsets shipped in 2007

Worldwide handset sales increased 16% to 1.153 billion units in 2007, driven by rising demand in emerging markets, says Gartner.

Nokia, the biggest phone vendor, increased its market share to 37.8%, up from three percentage points from a year earlier. In a disastrous last quarter, Motorola fell nearly ten points to 11.9% over the previous year.

Strong sales in China and India lifted Chinese handset supplier ZTE into top ten for the first time with a 1.2% market share. But the popularity of high-end BlackBerry and iPhone devices also put smartphone vendors RIM and Apple in the top ten. Taiwan's BenQ, France's Sagem and China-based Bird were the three displaced from the top group.

Gartner predicted growth to decline to 10% in 2008, with western Europe and North America contributing to just 30% of sales.

Gartner mobile devices research director Carolina Milanes said the strength of emerging market demand meant that handset sales were likely to be 'relatively immune to a recession' in the US and western Europe.

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