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GPS drives Euro PDA shipments

But smart phones still the most popular devices

Europeans continue to buy PDAs, despite growing interest in smart phones, and there's one clear reason why, market watcher IDC said today: GPS.

Yes, satellite navigation systems are continuing to keep the pureplay PDA market buoyant, as more and more vendors follow the example set by Germany's Medion over a year ago and begin to bundle GPS receivers and route-planning software with their handhelds.

During Q1, some 2.6m PDAs and smart phones shipped in Europe, up 52.9 per cent on Q1 2004's 1.7m, IDC said. Around 73 per cent of the devices that shipped were smart phones and voice-enabled PDAs, with shipments up 75 per cent year on year. Pureplay DA shipments were up 19 per cent.

Nokia increased its lead, upping its market share year on year from 43 per cent to 45 per cent while the number-two and -three players, HP and PalmOne, saw their shares fall from 12 and 14 per cent, respectively, to eight and six per cent. HP's shipments were up six per cent year on year, while PalmOne's were down 29 per cent, allowing HP to retake the number two slot.

RIM's rise continued unabated as its drove shipments up 368 per cent between Q1 2004 and Q1 2005, growing its market share threefold in the process from two per cent to six per cent, matching HP.

Like PalmOne, Sony Ericsson's share fell, from nine per cent to five per cent, on the back a 13 per cent decline in shipments.

Everyone else, together, saw shipments rise 122 per cent, and their combined market share jumped from 21 per cent to 30 per cent, IDC said. That includes the likes of Acer, Garmin, Mio and Navman, all of whom launched PDAs with built-in GPS receivers during the quarter. As per Q4 2004, GPS attachment rates stand at 30-35 per cent.

Motorola and T-Mobile had successful quarters, IDC noted, with growth of 271 and 548 per cent, respectively. Again, that's a sign of how demand for smart phones is growing.

Ignoring the smart phone specialists, HP retained its lead in the PDA sector, followed by PalmOne - a sign of the latter's growing dependence on its Treo smart phones - followed by Acer and Medion. Both companies, and lesser players, ate heartily of the market leaders' market shares, PalmOne's in particular, as PDA buyers increasingly favour no-name devices, all of which run Windows Mobile. ®

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