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Palm Gains on RIM in Canada

Tue Feb 20, 2007 - 7:02 PM EST - By Mike Overbo

According to research firm Canalys, Palm currently occupies 26% of the "smart device market" (I'll call it the smartphone market hereafter) in Canada for 4Q of 2006, trailing behind RIM, who occupies 65% of said market. Interestingly, the vast majority of Palm's gains have come directly from North American leader RIM, who occupied 76% of the market in the same quarter in 2005, compared to Palm's 13%. An increase of 100% year to year is a formidable gain in the market, and very interesting in light of RIM's dominance of the smartphone market in the US.

I find it doubly interesting that in Canada, where RIM is based, Treos doubled market share, directly against RIM. What is it that the Canadians know that the US market doesn't?

Rogers has carried Treos since at least 2002; Bell Canada and local carriers followed suit with the Treo 600 in Nov. 2002. It wasn't until halfway through Q4 2005, however, that Telus, Rogers, and Bell Canada all offered Treos as a smartphone choice. The availability of Treos on the networks can only account for so much, though I find it amusing to imagine hordes of Telus users abandoning the Blackberry ship once Treos were made available to them.

Worldwide, Palm remains the #4 "smart mobile device" vendor, currently behind Nokia, Motorola, and RIM, with around 5.5% of the world smartphone market. Palm was overtaken by RIM around Q2 of 2005, and Motorola in the past two quarters overtook *both* Palm and RIM, with the vast majority of Motorola's market percentage coming from its Linux-based FOMA smartphones, now quite popular in Japan (interestingly, Japan is currently the largest single smartphone market in the world). Nokia, though largely a no-show in the US smartphone market, remains #1 worldwide, bolstered by its Series 60 phones.

Really, it all just goes to show how volatile the smartphone market is in the world, and at the same time, how regional it is. 3G deployment still isn't complete in the US: though Sprint and Verizon have largely completed their rollout for major markets, Cingular only acknowledges "most" major markets for 3G, and T-Mobile is just getting started this year. It will be interesting to see what happens over 2007.

I'd like to hear what our Canadian readers have to say about this one. Make your voice heard in the forums.

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