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Converged Mobile Devices Reach Milestone

Worldwide converged mobile device shipments continued to climb during the second quarter of 2006, nearly reaching the 20 million unit mark. According to IDC, total shipments of converged mobile devices reached a record 19.3 million units for the quarter, marking a 1.9 percent sequential increase and a 42.1 percent year-over-year increase. IDC defines a 'converged mobile device' as a mobile phone having a high-level operating system, such as BlackBerry, Linux, Palm, Symbian, or Windows Mobile.

"That quarterly shipments are reaching the 20 million unit mark in a single quarter is a significant milestone," said Ramon Llamas, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Markets team. "As recently as two years ago, it would have taken an entire year to ship that kind of volume. Since then, the converged mobile device, or smartphone, has evolved in terms of functionality and appeal. In addition, as functionalities have increased, prices have decreased, making converged mobile devices not just attractive, but affordable."

"Although the year-over-year growth rate appears to be slowing when compared to previous quarters, this is due to a steadily rising volume of shipments and increasingly difficult comparisons," noted Llamas. "However, IDC expects to see continued growth in quarterly shipment volume with shipments reaching nearly 100 million units for the year."

"The growing availability of email solutions that can support a variety of platforms is really driving demand for converged mobile devices," said Ryan Reith, research analyst for IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker. "In particular, IDC has seen a steady increase in demand for enterprise-based devices for mobile workers."

While new applications and email solutions are driving the demand for converged mobile devices within the enterprise, the devices are also becoming popular with consumers. This is because the presence of high-level operating systems on converged mobile devices has opened the door for 'enhanced multimedia' applications geared toward a richer video and imaging experience. This is, perhaps, the reason why device vendors are increasingly characterizing these devices as 'prosumer.'

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