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Market watcher forecasts bumper year for smart phones

PDAs not selling so shabbily, either

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World+dog will buy 81m smart phones this year, market watcher Gartner has forecast. The 2006 total represents a 66 per cent increase on the number of such devices that shipped last year. Some 16m PDAs will ship this year, a more modest year-on-year increase of 6.3 per cent, it added.

Gartner based its prediction on string first-half shipments. Nokia, Palm and co. shipped some 42.1m smart phones and PDAs during the first six months of 2006, a 57 per cent increase on the year-ago half. That total splits into 34.7m smart phones and 7.4m PDAs - which includes wireless models.

The US market took 45 per cent of those PDA shipments - it's the only region where PDAs outsold smart phones during H1 2006. Add in Europe's sales and the two regions together accounted for 85 per cent of global PDA shipments.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 30 per cent of the half's smart-phone shipments, down from 42 per cent in H1 2005, allowing Japan to overtake it as the world's biggest smart-phone market - it took 33 per cent of global smart-phone shipments. The rest of Asia Pacific was a single percentage point behind EMEA, at 29 per cent. Which goes to show how tiny the market is in North America: just 6.3 per cent.

Nokia took 42 per cent of the combined smart phone and PDA market during the first half of the year. Research in Motion took 6.5 per cent, Motorola 5.3 per cent and Palm five per cent, down from eight per cent in H1 2005. By contrast, Motorola and RIM saw big year-on-year gains: 103.5 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively. ®

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