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Smartphone sales leapt 438% during Q1

But still a long way behind PDA shipments - for now...

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Global mobile phone handset sales grew during Q1 2003 as consumers upgraded their old phones for new devices offering colour displays, digital cameras and PDA functionality, market researcher IDC reports.

But while Q1 shipments were up 16.6 per cent to 107.6 million units on the same period last year, they were down 12.4 per cent on the previous quarter. No surprise given the that so many consumer phones are sold in the run-up to Christmas.

Not so more executive-oriented devices. Shipments of smartphones increased 438.3 per cent year-on-year during Q1 and 37.6 per cent on the previous quarter. But for all that growth, only 1.7 million smartphones shipped in Q1 - just 1.6 per cent of the total, and half as many as the number of PDAs shipped during the period, according to IDC figures released last month (though some vendors whose devices span the smartphone-wireless PDA divide, such as Handspring, will have been counted twice).

Still, as more handsets invariably take on PDA functionality, it's hard to see PDAs out-selling smartphones for very much longer.

IDC's figures for smartphone vendors ranks Nokia as Q1 2003 market leader (based on units shipped) with 57.3 per cent of the market. Sony Ericsson followed with 11.1 per cent, then Motorola (7.4 per cent), Samsung (5.1 per cent), Handspring (4.1 per cent) and all the rest (14.9 per cent).

This week, Symbian announced some 1.18 million devices based on its operating system shipped during Q1. Given Nokia and Sony Ericsson's lead, IDC's figures appear to give weight to Symbian's claim. Symbian accounts for just under 70 per cent of the market.

For the handset market as a whole, Nokia again took the lead, shipping 35.5 per cent of all the phones shipped during Q1. Motorola followed with 15.5 per cent, then Samsung (12.3 per cent), Siemens (7.4 per cent), LG (5.2 per cent) and all the rest (24.1 per cent).

The stars of the quarter were Samsung and LG, said IDC. Samsung bucked the trend with a quarter-on-quarter increase in shipments of 4.1 per cent. LG's performance was even better, growing shipments by 30.7 per cent sequentially and 109.7 per cent year-on-year. ®

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