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Smart phone shipments soar

Global smart phone sales soared 75% year-on-year to 13 million units in the third quarter of 2005, according to the numbercrunchers at UK research house Canalys. Nokia led the way once again while Palm saw shipments of its smart phones overtake its handheld device sales for the first time.

Global smart phone sales soared 75% year-on-year to 13 million units in the third quarter of 2005, according to the numbercrunchers at UK research house Canalys. Nokia led the way once again while Palm saw shipments of its smart phones overtake its handheld device sales for the first time.

Overall handheld shipments fell 18% year-on-year while converged devices more than doubled in volume during the same period. Nokia shipped some 7.1 million smart phones globally during the third quarter. Palm’s overall shipments slipped 2% compared to a year earlier, but Treo smart phone shipments soared 71%.

The first four positions stayed the same as the second quarter with top-placed Nokia followed by Palm, RIM and Motorola. HP leapfrogged Fujitsu to take fifth place, helped by solid demand for its hw6500 series wireless handhelds.

Nokia actually grew its volumes at almost twice the overall market growth rate. Nokia’s global market share remains supported by its strength in EMEA. Canalys reckons that shipments in this region alone accounted for just under 70% of the vendor’s total smart phone shipments in the third quarter.

Second placed Palm was the only other vendor besides Nokia to break the million-unit barrier in the third quarter, with smart phones representing 53% of its total global shipments. Palm has now announced that it will launch a Windows Mobile-based smart phone for the US market in 2006 and Canalys expects further changes in the vendor’s product mix during the next six months.

Third placed RIM shifted 978,000 units in the third quarter. EMEA accounted for almost a quarter of global shipments, but RIM remains heavily dependent on sales in North America, which represented 74% of the vendor’s shipments in the third quarter.

“Despite pioneering the market for enterprise push e-mail solutions and doing a great job of signing up new operators in many countries, the company is coming under increasing pressure from a number of hardware and software vendors, all chasing this lucrative segment,” said Rachel Lashford, analyst at Canalys.

Starting from a relatively low base one year ago, Motorola’s global smart phone sales rocketed tenfold year-on-year to 694,000 units in the third quarter, assisted by shipments of the vendor’s Linux-based smart phones in China. According to Canalys, the handwriting recognition capability of these devices has proved to be a popular feature.

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