Smart phones kill the PDA’s star

As PDA shipments continue to slide CommsMEA examines the latest in handheld gadgetry.

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By  Administrator Published  December 30, 2007

Global research firm IDC recently published figures indicating that global sales of personal digital assistants (PDAs) continued to fall during the three months ending September 2007.

The report notes how PDA sales slumped to a 15th consecutive quarterly fall as converged smart phone devices continue to a win the hearts and minds of consumers and enterprise users a like.

Standard mobile phones are increasingly being equipped with Bluetooth, organiser functionality and email, standalone PDAs are losing popularity with executives in particular, according to the report.

IDC notes how some 728,894 PDA handheld devices were shipped globally during 3Q07 - down 43.5% year-on-year despite a certain amount of ‘loyalty' among end-users.

The report comes as consultancy firm JD Power and Associates published a study noting that North American end-users who make full-use of such ‘feature-rich' devices generated an average of US$14 per month more revenue than those who did not.

The study finds that owners who send and receive e-mail and text message alerts, in addition to accessing other multimedia content on their mobile handsets, have an average reported monthly service bill of US$77.

"It's not surprising that handset manufacturers and service providers are offering more cell phones with advanced features in order to increase revenue," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.

He went on to note that the average revenue per user from wireless services has grown from $13 in 2005 to $73 in 2007. "As cell phones become more complicated, it's going to be critical for handset manufacturers and wireless service providers to educate their customers on how to use these new services and features," Parsons said.

CommsMEA takes a look at some of the latest smart phone devices on offer to the region's end-users.

Blackberry Curve 8300

Canada's Research In Motion (RIM) recently launched the device in the Middle East and North Africa in conjunction with UAE incumbent Etisalat at Dubai's Gulfcomms expo in September. The company plans a continued regional rollout over the next year with a number of other carriers including Orange in Jordan and Mobilis in Algéria.

Key Features: Mooted as the smallest BlackBerry on the market, the device also has 2.0megapixel camera, 64MB Flash memory drive plus microSD expandable memory slot as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

Middle East blackberry distributor: Emitac Mobile Solutions.

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