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November 22, 2006

Gartner: Mobile Phone Sales Up 21.5 Percent During 3Q 2006

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Associate Editor

During the third quarter of 2006, Gartner (News - Alert) said, worldwide mobile phone sales rose 21.5 percent, to 251 million units.

“Although sales of replacement handsets during the third quarter, in the more mature markets were not as buoyant as we have been accustomed to they were offset by continuing momentum in sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets,” a MartketWatch report Wednesday quoted Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi as saying.
More specifically, the growth was driven in large part by mobile phone sales in India and China markets, Gartner said.
Based on the latest number, Gartner raised its forecast for 2006 mobile phone sales, to 986 million units. The research firm expects 281 million mobile phones will be sold during the final quarter of the year.
The market leader for mobile phones, Gartner added, is Nokia (News - Alert)—the company held onto 35.1 percent of market share during 3Q06,up 2.6 percentage points.
In a related report, Gartner also recently noted that PDA shipments, too, were up during 3Q06. During that quarter, PDA shipments totaled 4.5 million units, up 31.9 percent from the same period in 2005.
The increasing availability of cellular PDAs accounted for much of the growth, Gartner said in its report. It also helped that the average selling price of PDAs dropped 13 percent from the same period of 2005, to $351.
“An influx of new cellular PDAs which are subsidized to some degree by wireless carriers resulted in a significant drop in ASP and pushed the market to the highest shipments level in PDA market history,” Gartner analyst Todd Kort said in a statement.
Kort added: “An estimated 62 percent of all PDAs shipped in the third quarter offered cellular connectivity, up from 49 percent the same time last year.”
The market leader in terms of popularity remains RIM’s BlackBerry (representing 21 percent of worldwide shipments). But other PDAs made a strong showing, including the Danger, Inc./T-Mobile (News - Alert) Sidekick 3; the Nokia E61/E62; and the Motorola Q.
Gartner noted that it didn’t include Palm’s Treo product line in its data because those devices are smartphones, not PDAs. The research firm defines a PDA as “a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands.”
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Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.

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