Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer
Mobile-phone sales continued at a torrid pace in the first quarter as consumers worldwide latched on to camera phones and cheap deals, according to a new report.
The industry reported that 180.6 million units were sold in the first quarter of this year, a 17 percent increase from the same period a year ago. That continued a buying boom that began two years ago and really took hold last year, according to market research firm Gartner Inc. The new figures prompted Gartner to revise its mobile-phone sales estimates up to 750 million units from 720 million for 2005.
Still, industry analysts predict a cooling-off trend as some of the emerging markets in China and elsewhere stabilize while existing mature markets in North America and Europe slow down after a recent frenzy in phone replacement sales.