LONDON Ė Mobile phone handset shipments worldwide grew 6.5 percent in 2011 to 1.51 billion units compared with 12 percent growth in 2010, according to Will Strauss principal analyst with Forward Concepts. The market research firm predicts an 11 percent growth rate for 2012 taking unit shipments to 1.68 billion units.
However, smartphones will continue to take an increasing share of the handset market and are expected to grow 17 percent to the 502 million unit level in 2012, or nearly one third of the handset market. As a result unit shipments of so-called feature phones will continue to be squeezed and only grow by 1.6 percent.
At the same time cellular-enabled tablet computer shipments are expected to grow 40 percent to 95 million units in 2012.
In 2011 three Chinese suppliers of handsets moved into the top ten list, according to Strauss. These are Huawei, ZTE and TCL. The top three in unit shipments were Nokia, Samsung and Apple. However in revenue terms the order was Apple, Samsung and Nokia, Strauss said.
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