BlackBerry & iPhone Top Smartphones in US, Nokia, Samsung, LG, ZTE and Apple Lead World in Handsets, Says IDC pecking order of top cell phone makers has shifted in the latest IDC report.  The top five mobile phone vendors in the world are now Nokia, Samsung, LG, ZTE and Apple.  ZTE appeared on the list for the first time.

This shake up may not last, noted senior research analyst Ramon Llamas, "Motorola, Research In Motion, and Sony Ericsson, all vendors with a tight focus on the fast-growing smartphone market who had ranked among the top five worldwide vendors during 2010 are well within striking distance to move back into the top five list."

The worldwide mobile phone market grew by 17.9% in the last quarter of 2010 according to the Worldwide Phone Tracker.  401.4 million units were shipped.

In the United States, market smartphone leaders RIM and Apple maintained a healthy lead, while newcomers Dell, Huawei, Kyocera, and Sanyo launched their first smartphones to the U.S. market.  4G took another step forward with the commercial launch of Verizon Wireless' LTE network.  Android-powered devices from multiple players, along with incumbent vendors RIM and Apple, pushed shipment volumes to a new record level.Worldwide Top Mobile Phone Makers:

Nokia overall unit volume slipped 2.4% in the fourth quarter, with lower feature phone shipments.  Smartphone volume grew by 38% compared to the same prior-year quarter.  Samsung pushed out over 80 million units for the first time in the company's history.  Driving shipment volumes was the continued success of its Galaxy S smartphones, of which the company sold nearly ten million units worldwide for the year.

LG crossed the 30 million unit mark for the quarter, due in part to the success of Optimus One smartphone sales across multiple regions.  LG's smartphone strategy is paying off.  Tthe company sold more than a million units in the first month of availability, and newer versions (Optimus 2X, Optimus Black) are expected later this year.

ZTE finished the quarter in the number four position with shipments steadily spreading from its home country of China to developing regions.  While most of its shipments have historically concentrated on entry-level and mid-range devices, some of its recent success is directly attributable to its rapidly expanding smartphone line, such as the Android-based Blade and Racer devices.

Apple, the iPhone maker, slipped to number 5.  It was the company's second straight quarter on IDC's Top 5 list.  The iPhone sold particularly well in developed regions of the world, such as North America and Western Europe.