Global mobile device shipments hit a new peak in the last quarter of 2004, new figures have revealed, with all five of the leading manufacturers recording growth.
Estimates from the UK research house Canalys show that some 10,902,320 units were shipped during the final three months of last year, representing an increase of 51pc on the same quarter in 2003. Voice-centric devices, which Canalys defines as smart phones and feature phones, were up 101pc year on year. Data-centric devices, comprising handhelds or wireless handhelds, rose by 5pc.
Nokia, PalmOne, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and RIM retained their positions as the top four global mobile device suppliers in Q4 2004. Motorola, which saw success with both its Windows Mobile and Symbian-based smart phones, was in fifth place.
According to Canalys, Nokia alone shipped 4.9 million smart phones in the quarter, which it said was a new record. In doing so, the Finnish manufacturer increased its market share substantially, both year on year and sequentially.
PalmOne’s combined 1.5 million handheld and smart phone shipments resulted in 8pc growth overall, but this was constrained somewhat by the new Treo 650 initially only being available on the Sprint network in the US. PalmOne remains the leading smart phone vendor in North America.
HP’s shipments increased marginally by 1pc worldwide in Q4, Canalys found. The company focused on higher end mobile systems in Q4 and enjoyed strong shipments in EMEA of the new h6340 wireless handheld.
RIM, maker of the BlackBerry handheld email device, was narrowly behind HP, repeating its growth of recent quarters, with total shipments up 249pc year on year. Shipments of the 7100 series grew, but its established devices still represent the majority of sales, said Canalys. The research firm added that it expected Motorola to increase shipments further in 2005 as it launches more products.
The Symbian mobile operating system is establishing itself, having seen its market share rise to 53pc from 38pc one year ago and also up on the 50pc tally recorded in the third quarter. The software is used by Nokia, Motorola and Fujitsu and Canalys attributed its overall position to helped by steady shipments from Sony Ericsson and Sendo, a rise in volume for the Siemens SX1 and the first shipments from licensees Panasonic and BenQ.
By Gordon Smith