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Nokia knocks Palm off Euro PDA biz top slot

Symbian takes platform lead, despite collapsing Psion sales

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Nokia dominated the European market for PDAs and data-enabled smartphones during the third quarter, outselling both Palm and Compaq by a hefty margin and almost doubling its sales year on year.

But, according to the latest figures from market researcher Canalys, the market as a whole shrank by 16 per cent on Q3 2000. This confirms Gartner Dataquest's numbers which show consumers and enterprise buyers holding off from purchasing during the quarter. Still, the first nine months of 2001 showed growth over the same period last year of 33 per cent.

Canalys' numbers put Nokia's marketshare at 28.3 per cent, thanks to the 152,335 Communicator 9210s it sold during the period. Palm came second with 20.2 per cent (108,445 units). Compaq's 66,925 shipments gave it a 12.4 per cent share. Casio and Handspring came fourth and fifth, respectively, with 11.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent of the market (61,550 and 41,450 units, respectively).

Nokia's success more than balanced Psion's collapse, which saw sales fall from Q3 2000's 100,710 units (15.6 per cent marketshare) to 16,190 this past quarter (three per cent).

It also pushed Symbian to the top of the platform chart. Symbian's OS was used in 34 per cent of the PDAs and smartphones shipped last quarter, compared to Palm OS' 29.9 per cent, and Windows CE's 20.8 per cent.

According to Canalys, Nokia will maintain its position at the top of the chart during Q4. In the UK at least, Nokia has done much more to promote the 9210 than Palm, Compaq or any of its other PDA rivals, and this has clearly had an effect on sales.

Existing and would-be PocketPC users, on the other hand, appear to have held back from buying new machines until the arrival last month of PocketPC 2002. Canalys reckons that many Palm fans are waiting for the company's next-generation ARM-based models rather than upgrading to the members of the current line-up.

Nokia's links to cellular network providers is also important to its success. "It has great relationships with the mobile network operators and access to vast numbers of phone sales outlets across Europe, not to mention the corporate phone channels. Businesses are buying these devices as well as consumers," said Canalys senior analyst Chris Jones.

"The 9210 represents a tiny fraction of Nokia's overall phone sales in the quarter, but it does show the potential for smart phones and the pressure handheld vendors will be under as other devices are launched," he added.

This should be some consolation to Handspring, which attacks the smartphone market next year with its Treo family. ®

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