Europe: over 1 million handhelds and 2 million smartphones in 4Q 2003
Posted on 26-Jan-2004 23:47
Filed under: News
The year ended on a high for most mobile device vendors in EMEA according to the latest research from leading analyst firm Canalys. Not only did the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Orange manage to ship over 2 million smart phones between them, but the handheld market, at times dismissed by some as being almost saturated, managed to post a record quarter, with well over 1 million devices shipped.
Highlights of this report are:
HP becomes clear leader in handheld segment, with 33% share of shipments in Q4 2003
Palm second with 25% share as shipments fall 19% compared to year-ago quarter
First quarter in EMEA where handhelds break the 1 million unit barrier
Nokia retains smart phone leadership with 78% of voice-centric mobile device segment
Sony Ericsson and Motorola show healthy gains
More than 2 million Symbian devices shipped in Q4 2003
"Handhelds have found a new lease of life with the arrival of competitively priced GPS navigation bundles," said Canalys senior analyst and director Chris Jones. "In some countries, Germany being a prime example, major retailers are now insisting on navigation solutions in preference to standalone handhelds, and the leading vendors are taking advantage of this. Vendors without navigation bundles will find it harder to get shelf space - Palm and Sony have some catching up to do in this area. It will become more and more difficult to sell such devices purely on the basis of personal information management. Low end handhelds are competing with smart phones offering a similar level of functionality; high end models must offer other benefits to justify their higher price points."
Jones points out that navigation benefits from the larger screens of handhelds, though he expects that smart phone vendors will eventually wake up to the opportunity. Providing audio feedback can offset the disadvantage of a smaller screen, and as regulation forces drivers to mount mobile phones on their dashboards smart phone vendors will turn this to their advantage.
Handheld vendors, and HP in particular, have also benefited from a rise in corporate IT expenditure. Some of the pilot projects that were put on hold in leaner times are now beginning to develop into larger deployments.
"As enterprise spending on mobile device solutions grows, smart phone vendors will also want a piece of the action," said analyst Rachel Lashford. "Nokia continues to add to its range, and enjoyed a large initial ship out of the Nokia 6600 this quarter - its most 'corporate' smart phone handset to date. We expect Nokia to target the corporate mobility solutions segment very hard this year, and the Symbian OS is now reaching the shipment levels needed to make it a contender in the enterprise."
In terms of product segmentation, Nokia's smart phone range is unrivalled, but other vendors have also boosted their offerings. Sony Ericsson's evolutionary P900 is performing better than its predecessor, Siemens finally got its SX1 to market, albeit in a limited release, and late-comer Motorola capitalised, via the A920, on NEC's inability to deliver sufficient quantities of 3G phones, as well as boosting Microsoft's fortunes in the voice-centric segment with a reasonable first quarter of shipments of the MPx200.