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China's ZTE Wireless, a maker of budget Android smart phones grew more than any other smart phone manufacturer, including Apple. It passed Apple to reach fourth place in global sales.  (Source: Flickr/RCR Wireless)
Nokia continues to slump

Market research firm IDC, a subsidiary of IDG, has published its latest numbers [press release] on global cell phone use.  While global sales do not always track U.S. sales, what happens in the U.S. -- as one of the largest cell phone markets along with China, the EU, and Japan -- does often affect sales globally.

This year's report showed that worldwide cell phone use grew 18.5 percent from 2009.  Vendors shipped 1.39 billion units cumulatively, up from 1.17 billion units shipped the previous year.  The IDC says that growth was driven by strong smart phone sales.

States IDC senior analyst Kevin Restivo, one of the report's authors, "The mobile phone market has the wind behind its sails. Mobile phone users are eager to swap out older devices for ones that handle data as well as voice, which is driving growth and replacement cycles."

One loser in the report was Nokia, who grew shipments 4.9 percent on the year worldwide, but ended the year with a 2.4 percent quarterly year-to-year drop in shipments.  Nokia, the world's largest phone maker, saw sales grow a modest 22 million units, but was outpaced in growth by its competitors.

LG was the other big loser.  The company struggled at exploiting the smartphone market, selling a number of less popular proprietary handsets, and only recently trying to bring more Android handsets to market.  Sales dropped from 117.9 million units in 2009 to 116.7 million units in 2010.

Samsung, fueled in part by strong Android sales solidified its number two position in global sales, with a 23.3 percent increase in shipments.  And Chinese budget Android smart phone maker ZTE was the biggest winner, with an incredible 94 percent year-to-year growth in shipments.

Close behind was Apple, who sold 47.5 million units globally, an 89.2 percent year-to-year growth.  Apple currently sits in fifth place in global sales, an impressive mark considering that Apple designs its own operating system (iOS) and only offers one current-generation phone model (the iPhone 4).

IDC did not break down its sales by operating system (e.g. Android versus iOS) yet, but Kevin Restivo says those numbers are coming.  He writes us, "We are going to detail mobile phone sales by operating system on the 23rd. We should be able to talk about our results afterwards."

American phone maker Research in Motion, who holds on to a decent chunk of the U.S. market, did not make the top five in global sales.  Sony Ericsson, who was bumped out of the top five last year, also failed to make the list.

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American phone maker Research in Motion
By Da W on 1/28/2011 4:04:53 PM , Rating: 5
It's CANADIAN phone maker Research in Motion!

RE: American phone maker Research in Motion
By Flunk on 1/28/2011 4:21:06 PM , Rating: 1
Canada is part of North America, isn't it?

By quiksilvr on 1/28/2011 4:47:56 PM , Rating: 5
America usually implies U.S. And it doesn't say North America.

By Murloc on 1/29/2011 5:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
you should write North American phone maker if you want to mean that.
American as a geographical term may be applied to an argentinian company too, but we all know that in most cases it means US.

RE: American phone maker Research in Motion
By Schadenfroh on 1/28/2011 5:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
Canadian, American, not much difference other than than measurements and health care.

By nikon133 on 1/31/2011 2:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
And crime rates.

So Apple
By bill4 on 1/28/2011 9:18:01 PM , Rating: 4
Gets 3.4% of WW cell phone sales, and 98.6% of all USA/Dailytech media cell phone coverage. Gotcha. Ahh that fair and balanced USA media.

RE: So Apple
By Aloonatic on 1/31/2011 4:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair...

98% of the World's population are probably far more interested about hearing about Apple's latest phone, seeing as it has largely driven the higher end of the market, even though they can't afford one, as compared to hearing about the dull, feature starved, slow, brick that their circumstanced dictate that they use.

Much as most TV shows about cars show super cars, that an even smaller percentage of the population can afford to buy.

Still, don't let that stop you from coming on to DT and whining about Apple, it's a sure fire way to get your average comment rating up, if nothing else :o)

RE: So Apple
By melgross on 1/31/2011 10:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
Sure it's fair. All new phones work and look the way they do because of the iPhone. So whatever Apple does, and how its sales do is relevant to everyone.

You may not like that, but that's the way it is.

Data from the press release - not allowed to post
By nafhan on 1/28/2011 4:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
Huh, tried to post a nice little list of the actual numbers from the article, and I kept getting rejected by the spam filter... weird. I guess lists with numbers are spam?

By MrFord on 1/28/2011 4:38:39 PM , Rating: 5
Please stop trying to post facts...

Picture link?
By Korvon on 1/28/2011 4:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
I will up vote anyone who posts a higher quality version of that picture. :)

RE: Picture link?
By Solandri on 1/29/2011 7:28:30 AM , Rating: 2
Tineye is pretty good at finding this sort of stuf.

By bankerdude on 1/28/2011 4:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
Now that they are on the Network

By bill4 on 1/28/2011 9:35:33 PM , Rating: 2
"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken


By Mumrik on 1/29/2011 2:39:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised to see no mention of HTC.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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