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Nokia earnings rise but miss estimates

Revenue and profit grow but not to the extent that analysts had hoped. Meanwhile, Nokia cautions about the current quarter.

Nokia saw its earnings and sales grow in the first quarter, though the results didn't meet analysts' expectations.

On Thursday, the Finland-based mobile phone maker reported earnings of 349 million euros ($465 million), or 9 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, a healthy boost from the 122 million euros it earned in 2009's first quarter.

Nokia's X6 16GB smartphone began shipping in the first quarter. Nokia

Sales inched up 3 percent to 9.52 billion euros, showing growth for the first time in two years. But analysts as a whole were looking for earnings of 15 cents a share and sales of 9.69 billion euros.

Though Nokia's fourth quarter showed signs of improvement, the company continues to be battered by tough competition from the iPhone and Android-based handsets. As a result, Nokia has been forced to cut prices, dragging down profits and biting into its leading market share.

"In Q1, Nokia delivered both year-on-year net sales and operating profit growth," Chief Executive Officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in a statement. "We continue to face tough competition with respect to the high end of our mobile device portfolio, as well as challenging market conditions on the infrastructure side."

For the quarter, Nokia shipped 107.8 million handsets, a 16 percent gain from the year-ago quarter that pushed sales 8 percent higher to 6.6 billion euros for the company's main devices and services division. Smartphone shipments alone jumped 50 percent to 21.5 million units.

But despite some good news, Nokia cautioned that the current quarter may be rough. Sales in the devices and services division are likely to stay relatively flat or inch up a bit, ranging between 6.7 billion euros and 7.2 billion euros. Overall, Nokia said it believes the mobile industry will grow by around 10 percent this year but that its own market share will stay about the same.