Symbian Rules the Roost in Europe

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The leading mobile operating system in Europe is not the Palm OS or Pocket PC, its Symbian, according to market research firm Canalys. The latest figures for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) during the third quarter of this year are in and Nokia has more than half of the market.

Equally important is that shipments of handhelds to this region have increased 104% in the last year, from 579,000 to 1,183,000. All the major players have seen their shipments increase, and some have seen very strong increases.

Canalys tracks smartphones, handhelds, and wireless handhelds all together. Nokia, with very strong sales of its 7650, a smartphone running the Symbian OS, is at the top of the heap. It shipped 666,000 units during the last quarter, for 56% of the market. Its shipments more than tripled in the last year.

In second place is Palm Inc., with 15% of the market and 172,000 units shipped. Its shipments increased 33%, up from 130,000. In third place is Hewlett-Packard, with 9% of the market. Its shipments went from 103,000 in the third quarter of last year to 108,000 last quarter, a 5% increase.

Toshiba has made a strong start in the last year. It went from zero to 4% of the EMEA market in a single year, shipping 49,000 units last quarter. Sony is in fifth place with 3% of the market. Its shipments are up 709% in the last year, going from 5,000 to 38,000 units.

In the operating system race, Symbian had a commanding lead in the EMEA region last quarter, with 57% of the units shipped. Palm OS was just slightly ahead of Windows CE, both with 20%, and the catch-all “Other” category had 4%.

Canalys analyst Andy Buss said, “Things are really starting to get interesting. Symbian is now in the spotlight; add in the arrival of the Palm OS 5.0 models, Dell’s future contribution to the Pocket PC share and Microsoft’s imminent appearance in the smart phone segment, and it is clear that we will see lots of changes in the coming months.”

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