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Mobile phone demand expands 14.5% as market fragments

The worldwide mobile phone market continued to show signs of improvement during the second quarter of 2010 (2Q10), driven primarily by smartphone vendors and companies outside the top five leaders worldwide.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, mobile phone vendors shipped a total of 317.5 million units during 2Q10, up 14.5% from the 277.2 million units shipped during the second quarter of 2009 (2Q09). For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 620.6 million units, up 18.5% from the 523.5 million units shipped during the first half of 2009.

“That worldwide growth was driven primarily by vendors outside the top vendors is particularly noteworthy,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “Directly contributing to this is growth in the smartphone category. Companies with a strict focus on the smartphone market, like RIM, Apple, and HTC have clearly benefited from steadily increasing user interest. But it’s not just smartphone vendors that have driven the market forward – it’s also the companies with a presence among entry-level handsets and mid-range devices, which have long been the domain of the worldwide leaders.

“To dismiss the worldwide leaders would be a mistake,” adds Llamas. “Each currently enjoys broad distribution, a deep portfolio, and brand recognition. Moreover, each is in the midst of refreshing its respective product portfolio, with greater emphasis on smartphones during the second half of this year. Still, the upward pressure from vendors outside the current top five vendors, particularly Apple and Motorola, will provide tough competition in the quarters to come.”

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