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March 14, 2007

Canalys Reports on Global Smartphone Market

Only a few years ago, mobile phones were still novel devices owned by technology early adopters. Now, they’re ubiquitous gadgets owned by the majority of Americans—and by lots of people in other places, too.
A more recent advent has been adoption of smartphones, devices that Wikipedia defines as full-featured mobile phones with personal computer-like functionality. Most smartphones today include features like cameras, e-mail, personal organizations, data processing applications, and Internet connectivity.

In a recent report, industry research firm and consultancy Canalys said that global shipments of “smart mobile devices” (which include smartphones) grew 30 percent year-on-year during the fourth quarter of 2006, representing move than 20 million such devices.
Canalys broke those figures down further into smartphones (18 million shipped), wireless handhelds (2.5 million) and handhelds (1.5 million). For the entire year, total mobile device shipments reached 77 million, 64 million of those being smartphones specifically.
That’s a lot of smarts.
Some vendors, of course, did better than others, and there was some shifting among leading spots in the industry. During the final quarter of 2006, for example, RIM moved into second place, dropping Motorola (News - Alert) down to third spot.
Canalys reported mobile device maker market shares, for 4Q06, as follows:
  • Nokia (News - Alert) – 11,1114,630 units shipped, 50.2 percent market share
  • RIM – 1,829,260 units, 8.3 percent share
  • Motorola – 1,463,090 units, 6.6 percent share
  • Palm – 1,211,930 units, 5.5 percent share
  • Sony Ericsson (News - Alert) – 1,137,360 units, 5.1 percent share
  • Others – 5,368,130 units, 24.3 percent share
Which particular product models helped the companies listed above make it into the top five mobile device vendors list? Canalys specifically cited the following products:
  • Nokia’s Sumbian S60-based Nseries, particularly the N73
  • RIM’s new Pearl smartphone
  • Motorola’s Linux-based smartphones launched in Asia
  • Sony Ericsson’s FOMA devices launched in Japan
Looking ahead, Canalys predicts growth during 2007 for Linux-based mobile devices (as vendors move away from proprietary operating systems) and a boost for Microsoft (News - Alert) from launch of new products based on its Windows Mobile 6.0 platform. Plus, some strong opportunities for devices that deliver mobile e-mail.
 “The still under-penetrated market for mobile e-mail will provide tremendous growth opportunities for Microsoft, RIM and others,” said Canalys analyst Rachel Lashford, in a statement. “But in volume terms it will be hard to catch Symbian in the near future, particularly if it provides a competitive foundation for consumer-oriented smart phones at the lower price points that market demands.”
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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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