Year-end sales for handhelds better than expected

Handheld manufacturers had a far better festive season than expected, although sales were still slightly down from previous years.

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By  Robin Duff Published  January 29, 2002

Worldwide shipments of handheld computers increased 68 percent over the third quarter to 3.83 million units, according to figures from IDC. Compared with the same period a year ago, shipments declined 4.2 percent, but that's far less of a decline than other technology sectors experienced.

Palm benefitted greatly from the sales surge. Palm OS licensees also saw increased growth. Combined, the Palm companies occupied more than half of the market and the top two spots. Despite this, competitors using Microsoft's Pocket PC OS continued to make gains.

Palm's market share rebounded in the fourth quarter to 42.6 percent, or 1.63 million units shipped. Palm's worldwide market share dropped to 35 percent in the second quarter and 33 percent in the third.

"Over the course of last year, Pocket PC makers were able to make a significant dent in Palm's handheld share because of operating hiccups at Palm," said IDC analyst Weili Su. "However, Palm was able to maintain its lead and rebound in the fourth quarter because of the unexpected popularity of its mid- to low-end devices."

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