Even if money is a bit tight because of the struggling economy, that isn't stopping Europeans from buying mobile kit.

Second-quarter shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) leapt 239 percent from the year before, thanks in large part to the arrival of new smartphones, according to a study released yesterday by market researcher Canalys.com.

Data-centric handheld devices, with and without wireless connectivity, increased 51 percent year-on-year — the highest rise in over two years, according to the research.

In this segment, Palm retained its lead with a 34 percent market share. The company shipped 210,850 units in the second quarter, up 45 percent from the same period a year earlier. The second largest supplier was HP with a 25 percent share, but it saw its second-quarter shipments grow only two percent to 154,600.

Nokia dominated the relatively young market for voice-centric smartphones and combined feature phone segment with a 78 percent share, shipping 838,650 units in the second quarter compared to 59,220 units the year before.

Canalys defines feature phones as 'devices used primarily for voice with limited storage capabilities' and smartphones as 'devices with greater storage facilities, such as expansion slots, that allow operating system-based applications to be added without restriction'.

Feature phones, according to Jones, will fade out over the next two to three quarters, to be replaced by smartphones.

Sony Ericsson saw its market share in the second quarter climb to 15 percent from four percent a year earlier, after shipping 164,750 units from 3,410 units a year earlier.

Orange was in third place.

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