RIM Rises to Fourth-Largest Handset Maker

Research in Motion is now the fourth-largest handset vendor in the world, as it shipped 10.6 million handsets in the first quarter of 2010.

BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion is now the fourth-largest handset vendor in the world, as it shipped 10.6 million units in the first quarter of 2010.

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According to a new report released by IDC, RIM has jumped ahead of both Motorola and Sony Ericsson and now trails only Nokia, Samsung and LG in handset shipments. The 10.6 million handsets RIM shipped in the quarter are still a long way off from Nokia, which shipped 108 million handsets in the quarter. Even so, IDC says RIM's ascent is significant as it marks the first time the Canadian vendor has cracked the top five in handset shipments.

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IDC notes that RIM's rise also makes it the first vendor to crack the top five with an exclusive focus on smartphones. In particular, IDC says that RIM has profited handsomely from its efforts to expand from the enterprise to the consumer market and its BlackBerry Curve 8520 and BlackBerry Bold 9700 devices have both achieved mainstream success in the smartphone market.

The newest data also mark the first time that Motorola has fallen out of the top five handset vendors, as the company shipped 8.5 million handsets total in Q1 2010. IDC says that Motorola has been a mainstay at the top of the handset vendor list since the firm started tracking handset shipments in 2004. IDC says that the company has been losing market share over the past six years because it hasn't capitalized as much on the booming smartphone market as have RIM and Apple.

Overall IDC reports the mobile phone market grew at a strong 21.7% pace in the quarter after it had actually contracted in the first quarter of 2009. In all, vendors shipped 295 million handsets in the quarter, up more than 50 million from the 242 million handsets shipped in Q1 2009.

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This story, "RIM Rises to Fourth-Largest Handset Maker" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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