©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
Fueled by higher smartphone sales, the worldwide mobile phone market grew 19.8%% in the first quarter of 2011, according to new data from technology research firm IDC. The number of mobile devices shipped increased to 372 million from 310.5 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Rising smartphone adoption, especially in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, helped drive the wider market to a new first-quarter record. The nearly 20% growth rate was also up slightly from the 18% rate in the fourth quarter of 2010.
IDC noted that manufacturers are making smartphones more affordable to a wider range of customers in emerging markets and elsewhere. That trend has helped handset makers, such as Micromax, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei, Research in Motion (RIM) and others outside the top five vendors, collectively outpace the broader mobile market, with a 46.4% growth rate.