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Converged mobile device market grew robustly in 2006

Mar 1, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

The worldwide market for “converged mobile devices” topped 80 million units in 2006, up an impressive 42 percent over 2005 shipments, according to a new study from IDC. In the fourth quarter, vendors shipped a total of 23.5 million devices, 33.5 percent more than the same quarter a year ago, IDC says.

According to Ryan Reith, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker service, “The robust growth in converged device shipments in 2006 was driven by substantially decreased price points and a greater selection of devices for consumers to chose from. Competitive pressures have driven price points below $200, making converged mobile devices more affordable to a broader base of users. More than ever before, vendors are focused on providing greater capabilities that differentiate their products while keeping costs in check.”

Today's converged mobile devices are integrating an increasingly broad spectrum of functionality, and are growing beyond their original enterprise customer base by appealing to “prosumers,” according to IDC. Ramon Llamas, a research analyst on IDC's Mobile Device Technology and Trends team, stated, “It's not uncommon for a converged mobile device these days to pack multiple features inside, including an embedded camera, MP3 player, GPS capability, and an expandable memory card slot. As a result, the converged mobile device, once chiefly associated with enterprise usage, continues to find growth outside of the enterprise with the emerging 'prosumer' market segment.”

Mobile phone device categories are not consistently defined, resulting in inconsistent data from the major analysts in the market. For its part, IDC defines “converged mobile devices” as mobile phones having a high-level operating system, such as embedded Linux, Symbian, or Windows Mobile. In-Stat, meanwhile uses the expression to denote devices that “combine phone functions with laptop-like computing capabilities,” which it considers to be a subset of a broader, somewhat vague, “smartphone” category that also includes feature phones, PDA/phones, and any phones that run Linux, Blackberry, Palm, Symbian, or Windows Mobile.

Vendor Rankings

IDC's top-five vendor rankings for the fourth quarter and full year 2006, including shipments and market share percents, are shown in the following two tables.

Top Five Converged Device Vendors — Q4 2006 (Preliminary)

Vendor Shipments
Market Share Shipments
Market Share Y/Y Growth
Nokia 11.1 47.2% 9.3 52.8% 19.4%
Research In Motion 1.8 7.7% 1.3 7.4% 38.5%
Motorola 1.3 5.5% 0.8 4.5% 62.5%
Sharp 1.3 5.5% 0.4 2.3% 225.0%
Panasonic 1.2 5.1% 1.5 8.5% -20.0%
Others 6.8 28.9% 4.3 24.4% 58.1%
Total 23.5 100.0% 17.6 100.0% 33.5%

(Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 2007)

Top Five Converged Device Vendors — Full Year 2006 (Preliminary)

Vendor Shipments
Market Share Shipments
Market Share Y/Y Growth
Nokia 38.7 48.1% 28.5 50.3% 35.8%
Research In Motion 6.0 7.5% 4.1 7.2% 46.3%
Panasonic 5.0 6.2% 5.5 9.7% -9.1%
Motorola 4.9 6.1% 2.4 4.2% 104.2%
NEC 4.8 6.0% 5.5 9.7% -12.7%
Others 21.1 26.2% 10.7 18.9% 97.2%
Total 80.5 100.0% 56.7 100.0% 42.0%

(Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 2007)


IDC's outlook for the converged mobile device market remains upbeat. “Lower prices and costs, coupled with raised interest among users, are a boon to nearly any market, and this one is no different. The key is to watch which vendors are taking which strategic steps in which regions in order to realize market share and profitability,” stated Llamas.

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