Europeans to get smart with digital gadgets

Europeans want digital gadgets, says a new study, and the market is set for massive growth.

The market for smart handheld devices in Western Europe is expected to triple by 2003, according to a report from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The fastest growing section of the market will be smart phones, says IDC. Smart phones can transmit and receive both data and voice. IDC predicts that around 2.9 million smart phones will be sold by 2003, compared to the 347,000 shipped in 1997. IDC cited the acceptance of the GSM standard in Europe as the main driving force behind the expected growth and suggests European development of the smart phone market will be much faster than in America which has no single standard for mobile communications.

Personal companions (PDAs) and PC companions (palmtops) will also enjoy what IDC termed "massive growth". By 2003 it expects to see 2.3 million PDAs shipped in Western Europe and around 1.4 million palmtops. Smart handheld devices will also gain in popularity, fuelled by the penetration of enhanced versions of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and the spread of the Epoc operating system.

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