HP's comeback in handhelds as Europe warms to smart phones

Data devices finally growing faster than voice...
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Data devices finally growing faster than voice...

The market for smart phones in Europe is maturing with the latest figures showing sales of data-centric devices for the first time outpacing those of devices intended mainly for voice.

Although around 11 voice-oriented phones are sold for every nine data-centric devices the respective growth figures for each market are 22 per cent and 34 per cent, according to the latest Canalys figures. The whole EMEA market was 1,484,990 devices for the third calendar quarter of this year.

The big winner was HP, which saw growth in its data-centric devices - basically the iPaq - grow 87 per cent year-on-year. Last year wasn't a good one for iPaq sales.

Though it's hard to call anyone a loser, Nokia only saw one per cent market growth overall in the region. Dell was reckoned to have sold 31,800 of its Axim PDAs during the three month period, over 1,000 per day.

Canalys senior analyst and director Chris Jones was generally positive about the modest growth rates, singling out several factors. He said the corresponding quarter a year ago saw the launch of various smart and feature phones, meaning we are now comparing like with like.

Also the last few months have been relatively quiet in terms of launches, with the exception of Nokia's N-Gage gaming device and the Motorola A920. This week sees the launch of the Sony Ericsson P900, the successor to the popular P800, which helped take Sony Ericsson to fourth in the Canalys rankings.

In a separate report out this week, ARC Group has forecast mobile entertainment services will be a $27bn market by 2008. Leading the way will be mobile music, followed by gaming and video.

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