Smartphone rankings show RIM in dead heat

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Canalys has released shipping Q3 2006 shipping results for the “smart mobile device” market. Ignoring Nokia’s massive lead (the market as defined by Canalys includes many types of devices that Nokia makes but RIM doesn’t, making comparison between the two numbers practically useless) the most interesting development is the dead heat between RIM and HTC.

With 298,000 devices shipped in Q3 2006, HTC sits narrowly ahead of RIM (253,000 shipped) for second place. However, HTC by far is the fastest growing of the leading hardware vendors, showing a year over year growth of 279% from Q3 2005. While, like Nokia, HTC also produces handsets that are not in competition with RIM but included in this data, Canalys has chosen to not include HTC devices branded by network operators or other hardware vendors (which are tracked individually), most likely making it a net wash.*

Canalys also had some interesting statements to make in regards to two other RIM competitors: Microsoft and Palm.

I’d be surprised if the Treo 750v did not exceed the volumes achieved by its Palm OS based predecessors in EMEA,” said Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham. “Windows Mobile is gaining traction with network operators and with enterprise customers looking at applications such as push e-mail. 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.”

*HTC shipment estimates shown include Qtek-branded devices.

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