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Over 300 Million Mobile Phones Shipped Q4

The worldwide mobile phone market passed a new milestone in shipments by recording over 300 million devices shipped during the fourth quarter, while experiencing slower year over year growth for 2007.

According to IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, the 334 million handsets shipped during the holiday quarter was a new record for the industry, and was up 15.3 percent over last quarter.

For the entire year, total shipments reached 1,144.1 million units in 2007 with 12.4 percent overall growth. Nokia once again led vendors in shipments throughout the year, although some shakeup in the vendor rankings did occur. Samsung, which had been the number three vendor in the industry, surpassed Motorola during 2007 to capture the number two spot.

"Give credit to Samsung for taking the number two position worldwide from Motorola," says Ramon Llamas, research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. "For the past few years, Samsung's growth kept pace with the market, but in 2007 the company beat the market almost by a factor of four."

Samsung capitalized on replacement handset opportunities in the United States and Europe with a steady stream of mid-range and high-end devices while Motorola spent much of the year addressing inventory challenges across EMEA and Asia.

Now that Motorola is implementing a new handset strategy, it will be interesting to watch the hotly contested number two position in 2008 -- particularly amid reports that Motorola could decide to entirely exit the consumer cell phone sector by divesting this troubled business unit.

"Over the last three years, growth in the industry during the holiday quarter has fluctuated from 18 to 30 percent, and this past quarter we saw it drop to 11.6 percent," said Ryan Reith, senior research analyst with IDC.

"The expectation that the market would maintain the level of growth it saw over the last three years was unrealistic. We expect growth to be in the single digits throughout 2008, and most likely for years to follow."

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