Worldwide phone sales have rebounded 17% in the first quarter on 2010 on the back of a boom in smartphone sales, according to research analysts Gartner.

The latest research report reveals that 314.7million cellphones were sold in Q1 2010, a 17% gain over the same period in 2009.

Much of the gain came from a surge in smartphone sales, reaching 54.3million, the first time smartphones sales have cracked the 50million mark in one quarter. The increase is a massive 48.7% over first quarter 2009 results.

Not too surprisingly, phone vendors who controlled the software and hardware performed the best according to research.

“In the first quarter of 2010, smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “This quarter saw RIM, a pure smartphone player, make its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers, and saw Apple increase its market share by 1.2 percentage points. Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707 per cent year-on-year.

Topping the leaderboard was Nokia, who increased sales from 97.3million to 110.1million, however with other vendors boosting sales, Nokia’s market share slipped from 36.2% to 35%.

Second place was taken by Samsung. The Korean giant upped its sales from 51.3million to 64.8million for the quarter and boosted its market share as a result from 19.1% in Q1 2009 to 20.6% this quarter.

LG took third place with 27.1million phone sales, fractionally up on the 26.5million it sold in Q1 2009 however, it’s market share fell to 8.6%.

Beyond the top three, market share is tight amongst the next four spots with RIM, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Apple between 3.4% and 2.7% each.

Sony Ericsson and Motorola struggled with significant sales declines – Sony Ericsson dropped from 14.47million to just 9.86million while Motorola fared even worse, starting with 16.5million in Q1 2009 to fall to 9.5million this quarter.

Both brands are unlikely to hold onto fifth and sixth positions as right behind both is Apple, selling some 8.359million iPhones during Q1 2010. But with the iPhone 4G expected to be released in June, Apple’s numbers are unlikely to go anywhere but up.

Company 1Q10

Units

1Q10 Market Share (%) 1Q09

Units

1Q09 Market Share (%)
Nokia 110,105.6 35.0 97,398.2 36.2
Samsung 64,897.1 20.6 51,385.4 19.1
LG 27,190.1 8.6 26,546.9 9.9
RIM 10,552.5 3.4 7,233.5 2.7
Sony Ericsson 9,865.6 3.1 14,470.3 5.4
Motorola 9,574.5 3.0 16,587.3 6.2
Apple 8,359.7 2.7 3,938.8 1.5
ZTE 5,375.4 1.7 3,369.6 1.3
G-Five 4,345.0 1.4
Huawei 3,970.0 1.3 3,217.9 1.2
Others 60,418.1 19.2 44,972.2 16.5
Total 314,653.50 100.0 269,120.10 100.0

Source: Gartner. May2010 press release

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