Despite reports that the mobile market grew by 41 per cent year on year in the first three months of 2004, channel players are more cautious about uptake.
Smartphones represented 63 per cent of mobile devices shipped in EMEA during the period, up from 35 per cent a year earlier. Hand-helds fell from 40 per cent of the total to 29 per cent during the same period, according to research firm Canalys.
In reaction to the decline in hand-held sales, Sony said it will stop selling its Clie hand-held device in the European and US markets, which are favouring smartphones that offer both voice and data tools.
"Smartphone sales are going up quite rapidly and our sister company Sony Ericsson is doing a great job in this market," a Sony representative said.
Rachel Lashford, an analyst at Canalys, said the overall mobile uptake still presents concerns for security within enterprises.
"There are major security concerns about rogue devices being brought into institutions. IT managers need to look at this interest in converging devices and how they can be connected safely to the office desktop," she said.
Canalys added that it hopes some of these concerns will be overcome as enterprises roll out smartphones and PDAs this year.
However, Lashford was sceptical about uptake in the business-to-business sector. "We are seeing growth in the mobile enterprise but let's not be too upbeat yet," she said. "Device sales are still primarily being driven by individuals."
Steve Hockey, business unit manager at Hugh Symons Managed Services, was also cautious. "Mobile devices will create an opportunity for VARs but the question is when," he said. "There have been reports on potential for mobile devices, but we have not seen it materialise yet."
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