Blackberry makes its mark in Europe

RIM's Blackberry device is making a big impact on the European market, with sales increasing by more than 200 percent in one year

Research In Motion's wireless email device, the Blackberry, has seen its popularity explode in Europe with sales more than doubling over the past year, according to a report published on Wednesday by analyst firm IDC.

Andrew Brown, programme manager for EMEA mobile devices at IDC, said RIM sold around 65,000 Blackberry units in Europe during the second quarter of 2004,  a 260 percent increase compared to the same time last year.

Additionally, Brown said Blackberry's sales team is enjoying unprecedented success when it comes to converting companies' trialling the device into paying customers.

"RIM is maintaining a rate of 90 percent trial to adoption, which is a phenomenal level of success for any vendor. None of the other vendors have achieved anywhere near that," said Brown.

Brown said administrators seem more willing to look at deploying converged and smart devices to their workforce than ever before.

"More IT managers are willing to try mobile device management solutions. This year we have started seeing trials in the number of organisations. This proves there is a market for handheld devices but there is increasingly little space," Brown said.

Nokia is by far the largest player with 40 percent of the mobile device market. But although the company sold more units than last year, its market share fell by 7 percent. HP's sales increased by an impressive 59 percent and the company remains in second place with 13 percent of the market. Third and fourth places go to palmOne and Sony Ericsson, both of which had bad quarters and saw their sales shrink by 4 percent and 16 percent respectively.

Brown said profit margins are being squeezed, which should mean more companies dropping out of the market.

"Clearly the margins just aren't there for a large number of competitors, so the number of vendors competing in this space is going to decrease significantly. We saw ViewSonic exit last quarter, and Sony has announced it's leaving [the mobile device market] -- I presume to concentrate on the Sony Ericsson joint venture," said Brown.