Increasing demand for smartphones, combined with continuing sales growth for traditional handheld devices, pushed up the European mobile market by 25.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the same period last year.
According to the latest research from IDC, converged device volumes continued to grow by around 35 per cent during the quarter, although Nokia and Sony "failed to execute as efficiently as in previous quarters".
IDC said that Nokia was unable to capitalise on growth as effectively as normal due to internal reorganisation, and did not exploit the usual seasonal mobile market pick-up in March.
"Clearly, organisational restructuring and operational changes affected Nokia's ability to execute as efficiently in the first quarter of the year," said Andrew Brown, mobile devices programme manager at IDC.
"Nevertheless, these changes will benefit Nokia in the longer term and allow a greater focus on the burgeoning market for business mobility."
The business market showed a greater desire for mobile offerings, reflected in the continued growth of vendors such as RIM with its Blackberry integrated email and personal information management system.
The market for standalone handheld devices was limited to single-digit growth.
Tim Mui, senior mobile devices analyst at IDC, said in a statement: "With retailers recognising that PDAs are no longer the 'in vogue' consumer electronic product, a growing number of handheld device models now vie for a dwindling amount of shelf space.
"Increased competition and pricing pressure will most affect those vendors that continue to deliver an uninspired product mix and may lead to greater consolidation and market withdrawals."
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