Apple, RIM and ZTE took places among the world's top ten largest mobile phone makers in 2007, new research from Gartner claims.

Despite only being available in four markets: US, UK, Germany and France, the iPhone transformed Apple into the tenth largest handset maker in the fourth quarter of 2007, the analysts informed.

RIM took sixth place while low-cost handset manufacturer ZTE, which specialises in delivering devices to emerging markets, took seventh place.

Apple holds 0.6 per cent of the market while sixth-place RIM has 1.2 per cent. Motorola saw its share fall to 11.9 per cent from 21.5 per cent. Nokia (40.4 per cent) and Samsung (13.4 per cent) continue to dominate global handset sales.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi observed: "The global mobile devices market will remain relatively immune to a recession in the US and Western European economies as the majority of growth in 2008 will come from emerging markets. The mature Western Europe and North America markets are driven by operator contract terms and replacement cycles and will account for just 30 per cent of the global mobile devices market in 2008.”