Nokia, the world's largest supplier of mobile phones, has also become Europe’s most popular supplier of personal digital assistants (PDAs), surpassing Palm, Compaq and Psion, according to a recent study by research company,

"In particular, the Nokia 9210 Communicator smart phone, which is based on the Symbian operating system, has outsold the whole Palm portfolio, including the Palm 100, 105, 500 and 505," said Canalys senior analyst Chris Jones.

In the third quarter of this year, Nokia held the number one position with a 28.3 percent share of the market, having sold 152,335 units in Western Europe, Canalys said in its report. That is a 95 percent increase for Nokia over the same period last year.

"Nokia has great relationships with the mobile network operators and access to vast numbers of phone sales outlets across Europe, as well as the corporate phone channels. Businesses are buying these devices as well as consumers," Jones said.

In comparison, the number two PDA vendor, Palm, held 20.2 percent of the market, with 108,445 units sold. That represented a 56 percent drop in sales from the third quarter last year when the company held 37.9 percent of the market and sold 244,100 PDAs, Canalys said.

Holding the number three spot with 12.4 percent of the market was Compaq, which sold 66,925 units in the quarter, a year-on-year increase of 81 percent due primarily to the launch of its Pocket PC, Jones said.

"Compaq did have some problems with the Pocket PC in that demand far outpaced supply when they first hit the market. At first resellers didn't have enough Pocket PCs, but then it went from one extreme to another when the resellers kept on ordering stock and then suddenly had too much product," Jones said.

Palm's fall to the second most popular PDA in Europe comes as something of a surprise because at this time last year, Palm was dominating the market, Jones said.

The overall PDA market in the Western Europe was down by 16 percent in the third quarter of 2001, compared to the same quarter last year, Jones said.

"The slow economy is a big factor and the early-adopter market for handhelds is also pretty much saturated. A lot of long-time Palm users are waiting for something more from Palm before upgrading, and some of the people looking at the Pocket PC are now waiting for the Pocket PC 2002," Jones said.

Psion was in the seventh position in the study, with a three percent share of the market and a drop-off from last year of 84 percent, which was to be expected after it announced it was going to cease production of PDAs, the study said.