Tuesday September 9, 2003After a year of strong growth beyond 460 million units, the worldwide mobile phone market will surpass 500 million units for the first time in 2004 according to a new forecast from global market intelligence firm IDC.As the number of mobile phone users approaches 1.4 billion individuals worldwide in 2004, IDC expects 42% year-over-year growth in the 2.5G market as vendors ship more than 241 million units. Meanwhile, shipments of 3G mobile phones will surpass 48 million units in 2004, representing 140% growth over 2003. One of the features driving this growth is the emergence of "cameraphones" that incorporate digital image capture technology within the device. This segment will grow 64% in 2004, to nearly 100 million units. Similarly, IDC expects nearly 30 million converged mobile devices, or "smartphones," will be sold in 2004, representing growth of 111%.