PDA market on track to ship 15 million units

3 Aug 2005

Global shipments of PDAs grew 32pc in the second quarter of this year, totaling 3.6 million units, says Gartner. While the overall market growth of PDAs is dwarfed by shipments of notebook PCs and mobile phones, the market segment is set to ship 15 million units this year, up from the record 13.2 million shipped in 2001.

Research in Motion’s (RIM’s) BlackBerry shipments grew 64.7pc in the second quarter, as the company was the No 1 ranked vendor in worldwide PDA shipments. Dell and Hewlett-Packard’s market share continued to suffer, however, refreshes to their aging product lines are expected in the second half of 2005. Strong growth in shipments of T-Mobile’s Sidekick II and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices pushed Dell out of the top five ranking.

“The steady growth in the PDA market can be attributed to a combination of factors,” said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide Group.

“Wireless PDAs are increasingly seen as an adjunct or alternative to notebook computers, while favorable exchange rates have enabled more Europeans to purchase PDAs at an attractive price. These factors have aided in the recovery of the slumping PDA market of 2002-2004.”

Microsoft maintained its position as the leading PDA operating system (OS) supplier, as it accounted for 46pc of worldwide shipments in the second quarter of 2005. In the battle for the second position, RIM extended its lead over Palm OS with 23.2pc of the market. Palm OS PDA shipments declined 40.9pc from a year ago.

The Western European PDA market grew 94pc to 1.3 million units in the second quarter of 2005. Western Europe accounted for 37pc of worldwide shipments, up from 25pc a year ago. PDA shipments in the US totalled 1.4 million units, a 1.3pc increase.

The stagnant US market is the result of the continuing decline in Palm OS PDA shipments and aging product lines among Microsoft licensees. PDA shipments in Asia/Pacific grew 24.7pc with approximately 402,000 unit shipments.

By John Kennedy