PDA sales decline during 2003

In-Stat/MDR reports that 65% of current PDA owners would be willing to upgrade but IDC notes a worldwide decrease in sales for 2003.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  January 28, 2004

The up and down nature of the handheld market continues at pace. While only last week analysts at In-Stat/MDR reported that 65% of current PDA owners would be willing to upgrade their devices as the likes of Palm and HP continue to push new devices into the market, IDC is now reporting a worldwide decrease in PDA purchases for 2003. For the full year, the total handheld market decreased to 10.4 million units; a drop of 17.9% from the previous year's shipments of 12.6 million units. Apparently, this full-year decline matches the changing role of the handheld device in a mobile-telephony energised world. "With a growing number of vendors and products that combine both personal information management (PIM) capability and telephony, consumers are moving away from devices that offer only PIM capability,” says David Linsalata, analyst in IDC's mobile devices programme. “Going forward, handheld device vendors must continue to differentiate and expand into hot product categories, such as media players and digital cameras, to renew growth in their market," he adds. Fortunately, some vendors are already taking this advice on board and those that have done have the results to prove it. For example, HP experienced 101.5% year-over-year growth during 2003 on the strength of a particularly large and diverse portfolio. IDC notes that, in particular, the HP iPAQ 4150 was a winner as it combined both Bluetooth and wireless LAN capability in a package barely larger than the company's smallest unconnected device, the 1940.

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