Hard Times for Mobile Phone Vendors

These are troubled times for mobile phone vendors.

In Q4 of 2008, mobile phones shipped were down 12.6% over the same period in 2007 to 289 million units, according to market researcher IDC.

This is what Senior IDC analyst Ramon Llamas had to say about the mobile phones business in the last quarter and its prospects in 2009:

The fourth quarter was the perfect storm of factors to produce this result. A combination of weak end-user demand, currency volatility, and limited credit availability prevented the market from experiencing the usual seasonal increase in shipments. We expect the first half of 2009 to be very challenging as vendors and distributors grapple with clearing inventory. Should these conditions persist, the mobile phone market may not recover until later this year, and possibly not until 2010.

The only silver lining for the mobile phone business in 2008 was in the smartphone segment, which grew 22.5% over 2007.

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