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RIM rises as PalmOne slides in Euro device market

But Nokia, Symbian continue to rule

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Western Europeans continue to favour standalone PDAs, with enough of them being bought during Q3 to push shipments up four per cent, market watcher IDC said today.

But their real interest lies in smart phones. Shipments totalled 1.85m units during the same period, up 38 per cent on Q3 2003's 1.34m total, IDC said.

The vast majority of them were Series 60 - ie. Nokia - devices, though RIM's Blackberry managed to grab almost seven per cent of the smart phone market, shipping 121,260 units - a 300 per cent increase over Q3 2003 - largely thanks to a 20,000-unit order from Vodafone, which is promoting its RIM-made 7100v heavily at the moment. RIM's share of the market was less than one percentage point behind PalmOne's - 6.6 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

Nokia took 45 per cent of the device market, followed by HP (11 per cent) and Sony Ericsson (8.2 per cent) then PalmOne and RIM. The combined share of Nokia and Sony Ericsson ensured Symbian-based devices took the lion's share of the market as a whole and the smart phone segment in particular, IDC said.

HP had a strong quarter, thanks to the roll out of a number of new iPaqs. PalmOne, by contrast, was running down stock - shipments were down 16 per cent on Q3 2003 - ahead of Q4's Tungsten T5 and Treo 650 debuts, which should strengthen its run through the Christmas period, though IDC for one believes it still faces an uphill struggle during the current quarter. The 650 won't ship in Europe until next year, the 600 isn't being promoted as well as it deserves, and PalmOne will face tough competition from no-name PocketPC makers touting GPS bundles.

The GPS market is powering standalone PDA sales in Europe, and it's a market that is driven by price. Medion has been very successful in this arena, and it's now joined by Mitac and, more recently, Yakumo and Anubis. PalmOne is attempting to fight back with Zire 72- and Zire 31-based GPS bundles. It is also in talks with major motoring organisations to promote the products, insiders tell The Register. ®

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