Apple Becomes One of Top Five Mobile Phone Makers

iPhoneApple (AAPL) surged into the world's top-five mobile phone vendors in the third quarter, thanks to sales of the Apple iPhone.

The consumer technology giant jumped into fourth place, ahead of Research In Motion (RIMM), Bloomberg News reported.

"The entrance of Apple to the top five underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market," Kevin Restivo, an analyst with International Data Corp., wrote in a report. "Vendors that aren't developing a strong portfolio of smartphones will be challenged to grow and retain market share in the future."

Nokia (NOK), the world's largest mobile phone maker, slipped to 32.4% of the world market from 36.5% last year, thanks to increased competition from Chinese brands.

Total global shipments rose 14.6 million to 340.5 million units.

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