Smartphones Gaining Steam in Western Europe

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According to a report by research firm IDC, converged devices (Smartphones and telephony-enabled PDAs) are now getting top billing within corporate IT departments and their importance will continue to climb over the next 18 months.

While the standalone handheld remained the most common hardware element in company mobility strategies, converged devices demonstrated a visible increase in adoption, reinforcing the market’s evolution towards converged voice and data solutions.

“The economies of experience, familiarity, and confidence consolidated in the deployment and integration of standalone handhelds with company IT infrastructure, combined with declining handheld ASPs, ensured the PDA remains the most widely adopted device. However, increasing visibility and confidence in the application capability and security protocols of converged devices will continue to drive smart phone penetration in 2005/2006,” said Geoff Blaber, IDC research analyst, European Mobile Devices.

IDC’s analysis of purchase intentions in 2005/2006 suggests that mobile device penetration, in particular of smart phones, will increase substantially in 2005 and 2006. The identification of established intentions concerning mobility suggests that many companies are ensuring mobility is firmly established within IT strategy, with comprehensive security protocols, prior to widespread implementation of devices over the next 18 months. IDC further notes that this is complemented in 2005 by a variety of solutions available to the IT manager.

“The growing range of mobile hardware and software/middleware, which together enable a practical mobile solution, is increasing the flexibility available to the IT decision maker in the implementation of a tailored, integrated solution in 2005. Improvements in security, integration, compatibility, user experience, and increasingly cost are driving mobility across a wider proportion of the organization,” said Andrew Brown, IDC program manager, European Mobile Devices.

In the wake of heightened consideration of mobility and an increase in device adoption, IDC’s business user survey further identified that application usage is maturing. Advances in device specifications/performance, increased adoption, and the central integration of mobility into an IT strategy all served to drive application usage beyond personal information management. Demonstrating consistency with the survey’s finding of an increased commitment to mobility, IDC also identified growth in the volume of companies possessing a WLAN, with a large proportion planning rollouts in 2005 or 2006.

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