Nokia holds on to smartphone crown

Particularly in Europe, Nokia is maintaining its grip on the smartphone sector

The latest figures for global sales of advanced handheld devices - encompassing smart phones and PDAs, among other things -- show Nokia out in the lead, though market shares vary greatly when broken down by region.

First quarter 2004 data from market researchers at Canalys shows the overall market grew 41 percent year-on-year. But while Nokia leads in Europe by some way, at 48 percent, with terminals such as its 6600, it accounts for only a quarter of shipped devices in North America and Asia Pacific.

In contrast, PalmOne, with devices such as its Treo 600 smartphone, has only around 1 percent sales share in Europe but 37 percent in North America.

The research found strong growth in sales of smart phones, outstripping the PDA market dominated by models such as Palm handhelds, HP iPaqs and Sony Cliés -- though this market is still growing too.

There is also a knock-on effect for operating systems used by such devices. For example, Symbian -- which is closely aligned to the smart phone plans of vendors such as Fujitsu and Nokia -- dominates European shipments at 60 percent share in Q1 but registers just 6 percent in North America, where PalmSource comes in with 47 percent and Microsoft with 28 percent.

In Asia Pacific, Linux accounts for the brains on 14 percent of device shipments.

In separate research also released today, mobile CRM company Enpocket found that 3G services are only being used by around 3 percent of mobile users in the UK and that of those who do have a 3G phone -- still available only for use with 3 -- only around 40 percent make use of 3G services.

The survey of 1,000 end users also discovered a gender divide - female users are more likely to download ringtones while the gaming market is skewed towards men and boys under the age of 24.