Western European Market for Smart Handheld Devices Worth Over $1 Billion in 1998, IDC Says

London, August 13, 1999 – According to the latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC), in 1998 approximately 1.4 million smart handheld devices (SHDs) shipped in Western Europe, representing a value of more than $1 billion. Palm-size PCs showed exceptional growth as 3Com, with its Palm III series, dominated the market. Further growth is expected in 1999 due to the release of the Palm V and the deployment of color-screen palm-size PCs from Windows CE vendors.

"Smart handheld devices are increasingly being adopted by the mobile, professional business community due to their lightweight, portable nature, and relative low cost," said Alison McKenzie, research manager of IDC's European Smart Handheld Devices program. "The demand for mobile email, access to information, and Internet access are all spurring demand for smart handheld companions and smart phones." The continuing move to automation and real-time, mission-critical data in vertical industries will create market demand for vertical application devices in Europe.

The market for Windows CE devices is starting to take off as strong branded vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, and Sharp established themselves in the handheld market during 1998. However, the overall market for Windows CE-based devices in 1998 was less than expected due to the slow rollout of CE devices and therefore slower adoption rates.

The European market for smart phones in 1998 was disappointing as potential vendors adopted a conservative approach and were slow to enter the market. The introduction of EPOC-based and WAP-enabled (wireless application protocol) smart phones, from major handset vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia, are expected to significantly boost growth in this segment as devices are rolled out toward the end of this year and in 2000.

Western European Smart Handheld Devices Review and Forecast, 1998-2003 (IDC#JS01FB) includes Western European forecasts for 14 countries and 7 form factors, and, for the first time, vertical applications are covered. The forecasts are in three major groups – unit shipments, value of shipments, and average street price. The report also contains IDC's estimated vendor market shares by form factor and country for 1998. This report is available to purchase from your local IDC office.

About IDC

International Data Corporation delivers accurate, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and adoption and technology trends, and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research, and exposition company.


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