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US mobile phone sales top USD 2 billion

31.6 million handsets sold in third quarter alone

Market information analysts NPD have released a new report which shows an increase of thirty percent in Q3 mobile handset sales compared with the same period last year.

Based on collated data from over 150,000 consumer research surveys completed each month, the company has also revealed the most popular manufacturers and handset models, which offers positive news for the mobile gaming industry.

Of the five top selling handsets, Motorola came out on top with three models in first, third and fifth place, while Nokia came second and LG fourth. Although the most popular Nokia handset for the quarter, the 6101, has no support for downloadable games, the top selling handset was Motorola's RAZR V3, which uses ATI's graphics accelerator for complex 3D gaming.

The figures do need to be put into context however, as the increase is largely representative of upgrades and replacements as opposed to the creation of a new consumer audience. NPD research director for mobile devices, Neil Strother commented: "The handset market was very robust in the third quarter. These numbers reflect strong replacement demand among consumers, coupled with more limited growth from new subscribers."

Boosted by a significant increase in presence within the Verizon Wireless handset portfolio, NPD claims that Motorola controlled the highest market share for Q3 at thirty percent. Sales over the quarter placed LG, Nokia and Samsung in joint second with a sixteen percent market share, while Siemens/BenQ gained just two percent of the market.

Although the leading handset is capable of supporting advanced 3D gaming, a recent study by research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) revealed that just twenty-three percent of American survey respondents prioritised mobile gaming when choosing a new handset. According to the survey, the most important considerations were battery life, high resolution camera and memory storage. It is important to note however, that the survey polled 6,800 adults in over 15 countries - a significantly smaller data pool than NPD's recent study.

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