According to the latest market data from IDC, the Western European mobile device market (including standalone handhelds and smartphones) grew by 25% year on year in the opening quarter of 2006, as total shipments reached 3.2 million units. The trend of of declining standalone PDA sales continue in Western Europe as shipments shrunk to just 549,000 units represented further negative growth of -21% but were offset by the strong sales of smartphones.
Nokia leads all manufacturers with total shipments of 1.8 million handsets a growth of 63.5%. The Finnish vendor continued to drive the bulk of converged device shipments thanks to the S60 a consumer-orientated devices and the N70. IDC expects the Finnish vendor to continue with the stronger growth throughout 2006 in the wake of the launch of the enterprise class E series and further consumer-focused S60 launches.
RIM places second with 225,000 devices shipped for a growth of 50.1%. Although the competitive climate threatens to intensify for the Canadian vendor, particularly in the SMB space, shipments of 225,595 units constituted another record quarter despite the settlement with NTP coming late in the quarter. Delays and complications in Microsoft’s rollout of the Exchange SP2 continued to work in RIM’s favor and reiterates the challenge its competitors face in rivaling RIM’s comprehensive carrier channel coverage.