Handheld opportunity

According to IDC's latest worldwide figures for handheld devices, HP recorded 100.3% year-over-year growth.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  December 19, 2003

The boys and girls over at HP are celebrating. According to IDC's latest worldwide figures for handheld devices, the computing giant recorded 100.3% year-over-year growth.

Not only did HP lead in terms of overall growth, but it also moved significantly closer to palmOne's number one slot. Locally, the vendor also says it is doing well, and claims to have more than tripled its market share since the launch of its iPAC Pocket PC in August.Concurrent to HP's growth, palmOne has embarked on an initiative to build its local channel.

The vendor's new partner programme is designed to help resellers deal with the complexity brought about by operating its PDA's on wireless networks, and to take advantage of the infrastructure opportunities currently emerging within the region.Although the split between corporate and consumer sales for both HP and palmOne remains a mystery, one would be reasonably safe in assuming they are dominated by the latter.

Although HP has won some marquee accounts this year, in particular with Unilever Mashreq in Egypt and palmOne has teamed up with Habib Bank AG Zurich in the UAE, handheld devices remain an end user sell. A quick glance around most offices in the Middle East confirms this, as it will, typically, reveal company laptops but self bought personal digital assistants.This makes handhelds an interesting proposition for resellers.

Should they be positioned as an end user device, like a standard mobile or smart phone, or pitched as a corporate communication solution to be deployed within a wireless network? Unsurprisingly, the answer is probably a combination of the two. And, although it will undoubtedly mean greater expense in terms of marketing, certainly on the corporate side, it means both HP and palmOne's channel should be able to double their money on just one simple device.

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