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New Study Finds Steep Growth For Smartphones

Sales of smartphones and wireless handhelds such as BlackBerrys grew at a rate of 170 percent in the first half of the year in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, compared to only 11 percent growth for standard cell phones, a new study found.

Sales of smartphones and wireless handhelds such as BlackBerry devices grew 170 percent in the last year in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) while sales of regular cell phones only grew 11 percent, according to a study released Thursday by Canalys.

Despite the steep growth curve, actual unit shipments of converged devices such as smartphones remained relatively small, the study found. Specifically, 9.6 million smartphones and wireless handhelds were sold in the EMEA region in the first half of 2005. That represents 7.5 percent of all mobile device sales, including sales of standard phones. However, a year ago, only 3.2 percent of mobile devices sold in the region were smartphones or wireless handhelds, the study noted.

The U.K.-based market analysis firm predicted that 16.9 million smartphones and wireless handhelds would be sold next year, comprising 13 percent of all mobile device sales.

Of the smartphones shipped in EMEA in the first half of the year, Canalys estimated that almost 80 percent were based on Nokia's Series 60 platform. These devices have standard phone keypads, as opposed to QWERTY keypads, but have more information management capabilities than standard cell phones. Nokia developed the Series 60 platform based on the Symbian OS.

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