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Smartphone market takes off

Sep 12, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Worldwide shipments of converged mobile devices achieved record shipments of 19.3 million units in Q2 of 2006, a 42.1 percent year-over-year gain, IDC reported on Sept. 12. For the entire year, shipments of the devices are expected to reach nearly 100 million units, according to the analyst firm.

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IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker research service defines “converged mobile devices” as mobile phones having a high-level operating system, such as Symbian, embedded Linux, or Windows Mobile.

IDC analyst Ramon Llamas considers the 20 million per quarter mark a “significant milestone.” As smartphone functionality has increased, while prices decreased, converged devices have become “not just attractive, but affordable,” he explained. “As recently as two years ago, it would have taken an entire year to ship that kind of volume.”

While new applications such as push email are driving enterprise demand for converged devices, they are also becoming popular with consumers, according to IDC. Additionally, high-level embedded operating systems such as Linux enable enhanced multimedia applications geared toward a richer video and imaging experience. As a result, vendors are increasingly characterizing these devices as “prosumer,” IDC says.

Despite the healthy year-over-year growth, Q2's 19.3 million units represented just 1.9 percent growth relative to the preceding quarter, however.

“Although the year-over-year growth rate appears to be slowing when compared to previous quarters, this is due to a steadily rising volume of shipments and increasingly difficult comparisons,” Llamas noted. “However, IDC expects to see continued growth in quarterly shipment volume with shipments reaching nearly 100 million units for the year.”

Nokia remained the top vendor for Q2 with 46.9 percent of the market, while number two Motorola, at 8.9 percent market share, posted the largest year-over-year increase: 212 percent.

Research in Motion (RIM) was third, at 6.7 percent, showing a healthy 28 percent year-over-year gain despite a decline in BlackBerry shipments from the first quarter's volumes, according to IDC. Rounding out the “top five” were Panasonic at 6.4 percent, and newcomer Sharp at 5.1 percent. Both Panasonic and Sharp ship almost exclusively within Japan, IDC noted.

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