Thursday, August 04, 2005

PDA shipments near record levels

Gartner recently announced that worldwide PDA shipments jumped 32 percent the last three months with the market on track to eclipse the record levels of 2001 and reach 15 million units shipped by the end of 2005. Gartner considers PDAs data-centric first and communications device second so wireless Blackberries are PDAs while the Treo 650 is not.

The leading platform was Windows CE with 46 percent of the worldwide market last quarter followed by RIM with 23.2 percent and PalmSource at 18.8 percent. On the hardware side, the Blackberry was most popular with a 23.2 percent share followed by Palm at 17.8 percent. Surprisingly, Gartner categorized T-Mobile's Sidekick II and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices as PDAs thus allowing them to enter the top 5.

Gartner analyst Todd Kort in Technology News attributed the growth to two factors: the fact that PDAs are "an adjunct or alternative to notebook computers" and "favorable exchange rates that fueled European market growth."

In the same article, John Jackson of Yankee Group said devices that offer Internet connectivity are most popular. "What this shows is RIM rising and the likes of the Pocket PC crowd continuing to muddle along. What this says to me, and what we're seeing as well, is connectivity is king."

Jackson added that "End users are gravitating to value added services that offer this connectivity associated with the device out of the box. It shows certain mainstream applications, like e-mail, are must-haves for the device to be in growth mode."

In CNET, Forrester's Charles Golvin commented that "the biggest problem for PDA makers is that the purchases are coming from existing users more than newer ones."

In my case, I left the PDA behind years ago when I could get the same functionality in a cell phone (Treo 180). The only way I could see myself going back is if it morphed into a multimedia device with Internet connectivity, such as a PSP-type device with easier text entry capabilites...