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Global smart phone sales soar

PalmOne leads in the US - Nokia everywhere else

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Worldwide sales of mobile phones and other handheld devices rocketed during Q3, market watchers reported this week, but its clear that its voice-enabled machines that are winning the hearts and minds of most consumers.

According to Canalys, mobile device shipments grew 83 per cent in that quarter compared to Q3 2003. While PDA shipments were up 18 per cent over the same period - that's those with and those without wireless connectivity of some form - smart phone shipments were up 190 per cent.

IDC's figures for Western Europe, released earlier this week, put PalmOne at number four in the chart, behind Nokia, HP and Sony Ericsson. The PDA pioneer fared better globally, charting ahead of the rest in North America and taking the number two slot in Canalys' worldwide chart, behind Nokia. While the Treo 600 has played second fiddle to European networks' own-brand smart phones and Blackberry offerings, the device appears to have been more strongly promoted elsewhere, particularly in the US, where it shipped over 250,000 units to take 55 per cent of the smart phone market. Nokia has a 23 per cent share.

PalmOne shipped 1.08m handhelds globally during Q3, less than half the 2.95m devices Nokia shipped. The phone giant's growth - 230 per cent between Q3 2003 and Q3 2004 - dwarfs PalmOne's 22 per cent rise, and is matched only by Fujitsu's 210 per cent, though that company's Q3 2004 509,210 shipments were dwarfed by the phone giant's. Fujitsu pushed Sony Ericsson out of the top five during the quarter, Canalys said, but the other four players' positions remained unchanged. The Japanese company's success arose almost exclusively from sale in its home territory.

Nokia now commands 40 per cent of the global market, up from 33 per cent in Q2 2004. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, it commands 87 per cent of smart phone shipments.

Only RIM's growth exceeded Nokia's, according to Canalys, as shipments rose from 137,140 in Q3 2003 to 509,210 in Q3 this year, a rise of 351 per cent. RIM came fourth in the chart, behind HP, which, despite strong European shipments, shipped 689,410 units worldwide, well below PalmOne's total.

PalmOne remains the world PDA leader, despite faring poorly against HP in Western Europe, and a 12 per cent year-on-year decline in shipments giving it a 25 per cent share of the global market. By contrast, HP's shipments rose 19 per cent worldwide, taking its share to 23 per cent. These figures confirm PalmOne's decision to acquire Handspring and get its hands on the Treo, which is clearly going to dominate the company's sales going forward, keeping it toward the top of the charts even as PDA shipments decline.

Nokia's dominance ensured Symbian remained the mobile OS leader, extending its lead over Windows Mobile during Q3 2004 thanks to impressive 201 per cent year-on-year growth to take just over 50 per cent of the market. The reliance on Nokia is demonstrated by Symbian's weakness in territories where the Finnish company isn't dominant. In the US, for example, only six per cent of the mobile devices shipped during Q3 ran the Symbian OS, well behind Microsoft (25 per cent) and PalmSource (43 per cent).

Clearly, while the Europeans want smart phones, North Americans want wireless PDAs. Though the Treo's success suggests that attitude might now be changing, a factor that may help Symbian going forward. ®

 

Q3 Worldwide Mobile Device Shipments
Rank Vendor Q3 2004 Shipments Q3 2003 Shipments Q3 2004 Market Share Q3 2003 Market Share Growth
1 Nokia 2,951,450 894,480 39.7% 22% 230%
2 PalmOne 1,076,470 879,340 14.5% 21.7% 22%
3 HP 689,410 579,940 9.3% 14.3% 19%
4 RIM 619,020 137,140 8.3% 3.4% 351%
5 Fujitsu 509,210 164,500 6.9% 4.1% 210%
  Others 1,583,480 1,406,020 21.3% 34.6% 13%
  Total 7,429,040 4,061,020     83%

 

Q3 Worldwide Mobile Device OS Shipments
Rank Vendor Q3 2004 Shipments Q3 2003 Shipments Q3 2004 Market Share Q3 2003 Market Share Growth
1 Symbian 3,732,030 1,238,170 50.2% 30.5% 201%
2 Microsoft 1,503,950 1,131,400 20.2% 27.9% 33%
3 PalmSource 1,253,450 1,218,010 16.9% 30% 3%
  Others 939,610 473,740 12.6% 11.7% 98%
  Total 7,429,040 4,061,420     83%

Related stories

RIM rises as PalmOne slides in Euro device market
Nokia steadies in booming phone market
Researcher ups world mobile sales forecast
Nokia and co 'to ship 625m handsets' this year
PalmOne extends world PDA lead
Europe: we will buy your PDAs
HP extends PDA lead in EMEA

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