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Businesses around Europe are increasingly adopting mobile devices and seeing them as central to their IT strategy.

That's according to the latest survey from research firm IDC, which indicates that mobile device penetration in companies in Western Europe will increase significantly during 2005.

While the research firm points out that run-of-the-mill mobile phones are still the top mobile devices used by businesses in Europe, converged devices such as smart phones have shown significant growth in the year so far.

"The economies of experience, familiarity, and confidence consolidated in the deployment and integration of standalone handhelds with company IT infrastructure, combined with declining handheld ASPs, ensured the PDA remains the most widely adopted device. However, increasing visibility and confidence in the application capability and security protocols of converged devices will continue to drive smart phone penetration in 2005/2006," said Geoff Blaber, IDC research analyst, European Mobile Devices.

Encouraged by a growing range of both hardware and software for smartphones as well as improvements in security, compatibility and cost, the smartphone is suddenly a much more attractive prospect for IT managers, IDC says.

Slowly but surely smartphones are making their presence felt in the mobile phone market. A report from IDC in March 2005 showed that sales of converged devices grew by 40 per cent in Europe during 2004, although the segment still represents just 4 per cent of the total mobile phone market. However, IDC predicted that during 2005 70 per cent more converged devices would be sold in Europe, accounting for 6 per cent of total phone sales.

How businesses use mobile devices is changing too, the report claims. Application usage is maturing beyond just personal information management (PIM) - calendar, contacts and organiser - thanks to advances in device specifications, increased adoption, and the central integration of mobility into an IT strategy, the report added.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

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