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Europe's demand for PDAs and smart phones continued unabated through the second quarter of 2004, figures from market watcher IDC show.

The company's numbers cover Western Europe - as opposed to Europe East and West, plus the Middle East and Africa, the zone covered by fellow researcher Canalys' figures released earlier this week - show mobile device shipments grew 20 per cent year on year to just under 1.78m units.

That's 20 per cent up on Q2 2003, but just 7.8 per cent on Q1's tally of 1.65m units.

IDC attributes the year-on-year growth to a mix of handset upgrades and consumer PDA sales in the retail sector. HP's surge past PalmOne into second place on IDC's list of the top ten mobile device vendors is, the researcher says, a sign of increased interest among the business community in mobile devices.

So too are improved shipment figures - up 260 per cent year on year - from RIM, though the Blackberry make failed to make IDC's top ten, beaten out by Medion and its hugely successful budget PocketPC GPS combos. Medion made solid in-roads into the Netherlands and the UK during the quarter from its native Germany.

"HP is the only vendor to record continued success outside the low-cost 'in-car' navigation market," said senior IDC analyst Tim Mui. HP's "strong retail presence and reputation as the only handheld vendor that can deliver a serious enterprise offering" is leaving its competitors only able to improve market share by competing on price, he added.

That price factor explains why the big-brand likes of PalmOne, Toshiba and Sony experienced poor quarterly growth, but lesser known names like Acer fared rather better. ®

Q2 Western European Mobile Device Shipments
Type Q2 2004
Unit Shipments
Q2 2003
Unit Shipments
Growth
Q2 04/Q2 03
PDAs 689,980 540,895 28%
Smartphones and voice-enables PDAs 1,089,610 940,360 16%
Total Devices 1,779,590* 1,481,255 20%
 * Shipments up 8% sequentially from 1,656,705 units in Q1

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