Shipments of smart phones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will exceed shipments of PDAs (personal digital assistants) for the first time this year, according to market analysts at English firm Canalys.com.
The company predicted that Vendors would ship about 3.3 million smart phones this year, compared with 2.8 million PDAs, including PDAs with phone features. Last year, 305,630 smart phones were shipped, compared with 2.27 million PDAs.
“We started to see the launch of phones with computing capability in mid-2002, and 2003 is the first year that we will see those smart phones surpassing the established handheld market in terms of sales,” senior analyst with Canalys.com, Andy Buss, said.
A smart phone was a mobile phone that had basic PDA functionality such as an agenda, contacts and email, and could connect to a PC or network to synchronize both data and applications, Buss said. Examples of smart phones were the Sony Ericsson P800, Nokia 3650 and 9210 or Orange SPV.
“Smart phones have a broader appeal than PDAs because they are a personal device, they are easily customisable and don’t take up a lot of pocket space,” Buss said.
Examples of PDAs were Palm’s Tungsten and Zire devices and HP’s iPAQ. Canalys.com also included PDA-phones such as T-Mobile’s MDA and mmO2’s XDA.
Consumers would drive the jump of smart-phone shipments this year, although the devices did have potential on the corporate market, he 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 included links to enterprise systems, Buss said. Consumers would like the smart phones because of advanced features such as cameras, color screens and memory expansion capabilities.
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.