More than 1 billion mobile phones sold in 2007

A recent report from Research Analyst Gartner showed that mobile phone sales have surpassed the one billion mark for the first time ever reaching a whopping 1.15 billion, a 16 percent increase over 2006.

Back in 2005, the same analyst firm reckoned that the milestone of one billion units sold per year will be reached in 2009.

If the growth rate is sustained, the two billion mark will be reached as early as 2011, although Gartner notes that this is unlikely to happen because of market saturation in North America and Western Europe.

Emerging markets like China and India are carrying most of the growth with the bulk new mobile phone users coming from those countries whereas in more mature markets, consumers tend to buy new phones because of new features like internet connectivity, high resolution camera, GPS and TV functionality.

Nokia remains the biggest mobile phone manufacturer, combining more sales than Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson put together; all major vendors, minus Motorola, have gained market share.

2008 will be the year where several factors could make it one of the most exciting in the last decade; Google will launch its Android platform later this year, Apple's iPhone will almost certainly bloom into a fully fledged 3G phone by Christmas and Motorola has yet to decide whether or not it will exit the mobile phone market.