Android may be moving ahead of Apple in the smartphone OS market, but Apple is steadily moving up the handset chart. It's just overtaken Motorola, shipping 8.75 million handsets in the first three months of this year, according to iSuppli. That many phones sets Apple up for three percent of the entire global market; that's a pretty amazing achievement for just the few years it's been in the business. Motorola sold 8.5 million handsets in the same time period, dropping it to number eight on the list while Apple moved up to number six.
Who's still above Apple? RIM is the next target with their BlackBerry devices selling 10.4 million units. Sony, LG, Samsung, and then Nokia fill out the top five. The year-over-year growth tells the real story, though: while most of the top five, with the exception of Sony Ericsson, are showing positive growth from last year, Apple leads the pack with a whopping 130.7% growth. When you compare that to Motorola's -42.2% drop-off, it's clear why the two smartphone manufacturers are heading in different directions.
Farther down on the list, you can see why China is such an important market for Apple in the next few years; China's TCL Alcatel is also making its way up in the rankings, and it's claiming 160.7% year-over-year growth. If Apple is going to continue the kind of growth it's had over the last year, growing foreign markets like that will be more and more important.