Global Mobile Market Hit 289 Million Devices in Q1

"Operators and distributors continued to top up their inventories in 1Q 2008 after a particularly strong 4Q 2007," says ABI Research vice president Jake Saunders, in a statement.

Sales for the first quarter of 2008 were up 13.7 percent over last year, but the second quarter "likely to be softer than in previous years," he said.

The change of attitude towards mobile devices, from being perceived as a luxury to becoming a necessity, has helped sales grow in emerging markets in Asia-Pacific, South America, the Middle East and Africa while shipments in developed markets have slowed slightly because of the credit crisis. Emerging market growth rates are in the mid 20's, the report said.

Up-and coming market innovators like Apple, RIM and HTC have helped generate more interest in smartphones, and growth in mobile internet devices (MIDs) is expected from vendors including Lenovo, Aigo and Asus.

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"Mobile device shipment volumes show no sign of abating in growth, despite the uncertain economy," says research director Kevin Burden, in a statement. "ABI Research expects 2008 to top out at 1.28 billion devices shipped -- a 12 percent increase year over year -- but these volumes could be subject to the overall global economic climate."

Nokia upped its share of the global market to 39.9 percent, with Samsung and LG following at 16 percent and 8.4 percent respectively. Motorola and Sony Ericsson lost market share in the quarter.

GSM-enabled handset shipments were up 17 percent for the quarter.