Mobile phones sales top 1 billion as Apple enters top 10

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Worldwide sales of mobile phones surpassed 1.15 billion units in 2007, according to market research firm Gartner. The company also said that three new companies entered the top ten in sales for the first time including Apple with its iPhone.

Apple was joined in the top ten by ZTE and Research in Motion with its popular BlackBerry device.

Nokia is leading the way in mobile phone sales with a 37.8 percent market share, followed by Motorola (14.3 percent), Samsung (13.4 percent), Sony Ericsson (8.8 percent) and LG (6.8 percent). Total worldwide phone sales increased by 16 percent from 2006, according to Gartner.

While 2007 was a good year for mobile phone-makers, the same does not hold true for 2008’s outlook. “After another strong year, we expect the growth in sales of mobile devices to end users will decelerate in 2008 and fall to about 10 per cent growth as mature markets become more saturated,” said Carolina Milanesi, research director for mobile devices at Gartner.

Apple introduced the iPhone last June and has sold over 4 million units since, including 2.3 million units in the last quarter alone.

At the Goldman Sachs investor conference earlier this week, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, said the company is confident it will make its goal of selling 10 million phones by the end of 2008. Cook also said that Apple is not married to the single carrier model of selling iPhones, although that is the strategy the company has adopted to this point.

Apple is holding a special event in Cupertino, Calif. next week where it will unveil a new software development kit (SDK) for the iPhone, which will allow third-party developers to write applications for the device. This will take away one major complaint from consumers of not having the option to install applications on the iPhone.

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