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From: Bill Wolf5/16/2012 5:48:30 PM
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Global Mobile Phone Sales Fell 2% From Year Ago, Gartner Says

Global mobile phone sales to end users totaled 419.1 million units in the first quarter, according to market research firm Gartner, down 2% from the year-earlier quarter. Gartner notes that this is the first year-over-year decline since Q2 2009.

“Global sales of mobile devices declined more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the Asia/Pacific region,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in a statement. “The first quarter, traditionally the strongest quarter for Asia – which is driven by Chinese New Year, saw a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year.”

Gartner says the weak Q1 results “have led us to be cautious about sales for the remainder of the year.”

Samsung jumped ahead of Nokia in the quarter and is now the world’s largest seller of mobile phones. Apple is third on the list, followed by ZTE, LG and Huawei. Once-mighty Research In Motion is down to 2.4% of the global market, which makes it the #7 vendor.

Apple’s sales were up 96.2% from a year ago, allowing the company to more than double its share of the market, thanks in particular to strong sales in China, which is now the second-largest market for Apple after the U.S.

Meanwhile, Gartner expressed doubts about the turnaround potential at RIM. “RIM desperately needs to deliver winning BB10 products to retain users and stay competitive,” Gupta said. “This will be very challenging, because BB10 lacks strong developer support, and a new BB10 device will only be available in the fourth quarter of 201.”

Here’s a look at global device shipments by vendor:
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