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EMEA smart device shipments climb higher

Smart mobile device shipments climbed 11.7% year-on-year in EMEA to 7.3 million units in the third quarter of 2006, according to the numbercrunchers at research house Canalys.

Smart mobile device shipments climbed 11.7% year-on-year in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to 7.3 million units in the third quarter of 2006, according to the numbercrunchers at research house Canalys.

Nokia maintained its leadership position in EMEA boosting unit sales 13.5% to 5.5 million — representing a market share in excess of 75%. Sales of converged devices climbed 19.2% while unconnected handheld shipments slipped 42.7% year-on-year.

Second placed HTC was the fastest growing vendor in the top five with year-on-year unit shipments almost quadrupling to 298,730 units. In terms of operating systems, Symbian’s share rose to 78.7% pushing Microsoft down to 16.9%.

RIM picked up third spot with year-on-year unit shipments climbing 10.1% to 253,420 units. With BlackBerry currently building up an operator-focused channel in the Middle East through companies such as Etisalat, Mobily and Batelco, expect this region to start making a significant contribution to the EMEA figure in the coming quarters.

Symbian-based vendor Sony Ericsson re-entered the top five in the third quarter shipping 219,010 units thanks in part to the release of new UIQ models in the last quarter. The boost in sales put Sony Ericsson in fourth place. UIQ is a pen-based graphical user interface for Symbian OS found on 2.5G and 3G phones.

HP rounded out the top five despite seeing its EMEA unit shipment contract 39.5% year-on-year to 186,390 units. Canalys attributed this decline partly to the continued shrinking the handheld segment. Canalys estimates that shipments of unconnected handhelds in EMEA fell to below half a million units in the third quarter — a level not seen since the third quarter of 2002 and a far cry from the million units seen in some quarters during the past two years.

“Windows Mobile is gaining traction with network operators and with enterprise customers looking at applications such as push e-mail,” said Pete Cunningham, an analyst at Canalys. “While RIM is still the vendor to beat in this arena, the competition is improving with each generation of devices. What vendors must ensure, however, is that they can go to the operators with not just one or two devices, but a portfolio that can address a range of customer segments, and a clear proposition behind each.”

“One of the key benefits of an open operating system for device vendors is the ability to tailor their propositions and add value through software and they must make the most of this opportunity to differentiate,” he added.

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