Research In Motion (RIM) has entered the mobile phone top five for the first time as global handset sales once more grew strongly in the first quarter.
The mobile device market grew 22% year-on-year in the quarter, driven by the economic recovery and the demand for smartphones, according to IDC.
Handset vendors shipped 294.9 million units, compared to 242.4 million units a year earlier, when shipments shrank 17%.
The strong sales follow on from the return to growth in the last quarter of 2009 after five quarters of declines.
The demand for smartphones helped Canadian-based RIM to replace Motorola in the top tier of vendors, tying with Sony Ericsson for the equal fourth spot.
It is the first change in the top five since Sony Ericsson ousted BenQ Siemens five years ago, IDC said.
RIM shipped 10.6 million units in the first quarter – 45% more than a year ago - while Motorola shipped 8.5 million. Sony Ericsson, which recently posted a surprise profit thanks to higher margins, recorded a 28% fall in unit sales.
Market leaders Nokia and Samsung grew strongly to retain the top two positions; Nokia hiked sales 16% to take 37% of the market and Samsung 40% to achieve 22% market share.
Kevin Restivo, IDC senior research analyst, noted that the Q1 growth was relative to one of the worst quarters in the industry’s history.
He said IDC expected the rebound to continue in 2010, though not at the same rate
“The market's growth should not be taken as a proxy for future quarters nor annual growth. In fact, the results essentially match our first quarter projections. We are still expecting growth of 11% for 2010.”
Top five handset vendors Q1 2010
1Q10 Unit Shipments
1Q10 Market Share
1Q09 Unit Shipments
1Q09 Market Share
3. LG Electronics
4. Research In Motion
4. Sony Ericsson