Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, on Thursday released its first quarter results with a 25 percent increase in earnings, boosted by new demand from emerging markets, but less below than the market estimates.

The mobile phone giant posted a net profit of 1.2 billion eEuros ($1.9 billion) in the first three months of the year, higher than 980 million eEuros during the same period in 2007.

The firm's revenue increased by 28 percent, to 12.6 billion Eeuros ($20 billion) from 9.8 billion Euros last year, with increased demand for handsets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Nokia had more than a third or 40 percent of all its mobile phone sales in Asia-Pacific region which surpassed Europe as the firm's biggest market with where 34 million units sold.

Although Nokia posted a slight gain in the first quarter, its profits were less than the forecasts.

The Finnish mobile phone giant said it expected the global mobile phone market to grow in volume by 10 percent in 2008 and predicted the market would lose value in euro terms compared with 2007, due to a weak U.S. dollar and a slow U.S. economy.

Nokia's North America market tumbled is tumbling with a decline of 46 percent in sales to about 2.6 million mobile devices sold in the first quarter.

Nokia reported selling 115 million mobile devices in the first quarter, 27 percent higher than last year.

The overall device market developed as expected, with the greatest demand coming from emerging markets where our position is very strong, said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia chief executive officer.

Kallasvuo forecasted an increase in Nokia's market share in the second quarter.

Nokia has 26 million units in Europe and 21 million units in China.

North America accounts for 16 percent of global Nokia handsets demand.

Last year, Nokia sold 440 million handsets accounting for 40 percent of all the global cell phone sales.