Smartphone shipments to EMEA market rise over 28 per cent on year in 2Q08

Smartphone sales in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) market reached 12.57 million units in the second quarter of 2008, representing a 28.2 per cent on-year growth, according to market research firm Canalys.

While the results signal the second biggest quarter ever in volume terms for “converged” devices, the growth was the lowest level recorded in the past 18 months.

Canalys reports that an estimated 58 per cent of devices had integrated Wi-Fi, 13 per cent had stylus or finger-driven touch screens and 38 per cent had integrated GPS.

However, Pete Cunningham, senior analyst at Canalys, said the drive by smartphone manufacturers to cram more technology onto platforms is leading to shorter battery life and more disgruntled customers.

Canalys polled 4,000 European phone users and the number-one concern they expressed was battery life.

“People are wary of draining their battery and not being able to make calls,” he said. “Battery life is not helped by having GPS and Wi-Fi turned on, nor by having a large bright screen for navigation or web browsing.

“But there is clear demand for those features and applications, and advances in battery technology would enable quite substantial changes in usage patterns with all the service revenue benefits that would bring.”

The Canalys EMEA report shows that Nokia remains the smartphone market leader – with a 71.2 per cent share of the segment – but this is down from 79.2 per cent of a year earlier.

The Finnish giant saw its shipments of smartphones to the EMEA market rise 14.6 per cent on year to 8.95 million units in the second quarter.

Other vendors in the top five posted much higher than average year-on-year growth, with second-placed RIM closing the market share gap by several points, and HTC, Motorola and Samsung more than doubling their shipments.

Both HTC and RIM have moving steadily toward the one million shipments per quarter mark in EMEA and enjoy similar market shares.

However, Apple could spoil this progress in Q3 following its launch of the 3G iPhone in many countries in the region.

High Tech Computer made notable gains in the EMEA smartphone market, with an impressive rise of 118.7 per cent on year to 880,000 units in the second quarter, giving it a 7 per cent market share.

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