The mobile phone market grew 21.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, which is a rebound from the market contraction in Q1 2009. Growth was fueled by increased demand for converged mobile devices, more commonly known as smartphones, and the global economic recovery.
According to the latest IDC global market study, vendors shipped 294.9 million units in the first quarter of 2010 -- compared to 242.4 million units in the first quarter of 2009.
The smartphone device class -- and a recovering traditional mobile phone category -- helped the market avoid a repeat of 1Q09, when the market declined 16.6 percent in the midst of the global economic recession.
Growing demand for smartphones also helped Research In Motion (RIM) move into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time. RIM, which replaced Motorola in the top 5, tied with Sony Ericsson for the number 4 position in IDC's 1Q10 vendor rankings.
RIM shipped 10.6 million units in the first quarter, while Motorola shipped 8.5 million units. Motorola registered a fifth place finish last year by virtue of its overall strength in the lower-growth traditional mobile phone category.
Motorola has steadily lost market share since 2004 when the market started its shift toward higher-end feature phones and smartphones. The ongoing shift has given rise to converged mobile device vendors such as RIM and Apple.
"The entrance of RIM into the top 5 underscores the sustained smartphone growth trend that is driving the global mobile phone market recovery," noted Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC.