Over 16.7 million 'smart mobile devices' were shipped worldwide in the first quarter of 2006, up 55 per cent on the same period a year ago. According to research from Canalys, the Asia-Pacific region has now overtaken Europe, Middle East and Africa in sales of smart mobile devices. Asia-Pacific represented 46 percent of all shipments during Q1 of 2006, compared to 39 percent for EMEA and 15 percent for the Americas.
Canalys defines smart mobile devices as "handhelds, wireless handhelds and smartphones."
EMEA shipments of smart mobile devices rose 25 percent year-on-year over the quarter. However, sales in Western Europe declined 10 percent versus the same three-month period in 2005.
Despite delays in the release of its enterprise-focused E-series smartphones, Nokia not only retained its comfortable lead in the EMEA smart mobile device market in the first quarter, but increased its market share to 76 percent from 67 percent a year ago. Both Nokia and second-placed RIM increased their respective device shipments above the market average of 25 percent.
Qtek posted the highest growth among the top five smart mobile device manufacturers. Its 211 percent rise took it above HP and Palm for the first time to make it the leading Windows Mobile vendor in EMEA by the end of the quarter.
Globally, despite a sequential fall in quarterly smart mobile shipments, leader Nokia's year-on-year growth of 60 percent meant the Finnish firm increased its market share slightly, helped by demand for popular multimedia models such as the N70.
RIM, the company behind the highly popular BlackBerry device, made substantial gains to strengthen its position in second place, growing at 85 percent and overtaking Palm both globally and in the US market for the first time.
During the quarter Palm posted slight growth and Canalys estimates that Treo smartphone shipments were up 44 percent compared to a year ago. However, the firm said the Treo has yet to gain traction outside the US and, more worryingly, the firm experienced a sharp decline in handheld sales.
Globally, shipments of handhelds were down, with the top four players in this field (Palm, HP, Dell and Acer) all seeing year-on-year falls, according to Canalys.
This concurs with IDC's latest report on the world handheld device market - published on the same day as Canalys data was released - which also shows a decline in handheld shipments.
According to IDC's figures, the total number of handheld devices shipped during the first quarter of 2006 was down 22.3 percent.