Nokia still the smartphone king as European growth slows

Nokia still dominates with nearly three quarters of the EMEA smartphone market, but competing vendors are catching up, according to a report by Canalys.

In the second quarter of 2008, Nokia's market share was at 71.2 per cent the leader by a large margin. However, this was a decrease from the 79.7 per cent it held in 2007, showing that rivals like RIM were making steady gains, while HTC, Motorola and Samsung more than doubled their shipments.

Canalys said that it was possible that Apple would overtake HTC and RIM in Q3 following the iPhone 3G's release.

EMEA smartphone shipments reached 12.6 million in Q2 2008, up 28 per cent from 2007. However, the economic downturn looked like it was having an effect as the growth rate from Q1 to Q2 was the lowest figure seen for 18 months.

Canalys estimated that 58 per cent of smartphones shipped in Q2 had integrated Wi-Fi, 13 per cent had stylus or finger-driven touch screens, and 38 per cent had integrated GPS.

The analysts said smartphone users would still demand high-end features and that the economic downturn was unlikely to have much of an effect.

However it said that until smartphones sorted out battery life problems, owners would not be able to make full use of their smartphone's features.

"People are wary of draining their battery and not being able to make calls. Battery life isn't helped by having GPS and Wi-Fi turned on, nor having a large, bright screen for web browsing," said Pete Cunningham, Canalys senior analyst.

"But there is a clear demand for those features and applications, and advances in battery technology would enable quite substantial changes in usage patterns, with all the service revenue benefits that would bring."