Smart phones more popular than PDAs in EMEA

Shipments of smart phones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) this year for the first time will exceed shipments of PDAs (personal digital assistants), analyst company said Monday.

Vendors will ship about 3.3 million smart phones this year, compared with 2.8 million PDAs, including PDAs with phone features, of Reading, England, said. Last year, 305,630 smart phones were shipped, compared with 2.27 million PDAs, according to

"We started to see the launch of phones with computing capability midyear 2002, and 2003 is the first year that we will see those smart phones surpassing the established handheld market in terms of sales," Andy Buss, senior analyst with said.

A smart phone is a mobile phone that has basic PDA functionality such as an agenda, contacts and e-mail, and can connect to a PC or network to synchronize both data and applications, Buss said. Examples of smart phones are Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB's P800, Nokia's 3650 and 9210 and Orange SA's SPV.

"Smart phones have a broader appeal than PDAs because they are a personal device, they are easily customizable and don't take up a lot of pocket space," Buss said. Examples of PDAs are Palm's Tungsten and Zire devices and Hewlett-Packard's iPaq. also includes PDA-phones such as T-Mobile International AG's MDA and mmO2 PLC's XDA.

Consumers will drive the jump of smart-phone shipments this year, although the devices do have potential on the corporate market, Buss said.

"It will be 12 to 18 months before corporate users have rolled out applications for the smart phones," Buss said. Applications for corporate use include links to enterprise systems, he said. Consumers will like the smart phones because of advanced features such as cameras, color screens and memory expansion capabilities, he said.

Smart phones and PDAs compete only to a certain extent. PDAs generally have more computing power, a larger screen and more internal memory than smart phones.

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Joris Evers

IDG News Service
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