Wednesday, February 15, 2006

PDAs Show an Afterlife

The RED HERRING covers a new report from Gartner that finds there is still life in the PDA market, which "grew 19 percent during 2005 to a best-ever 14.9 million units shipped."

Research In Motion led with 21.4 percent of total shipments, and "shipments increased a whopping 47 percent from 2004 to 2005." This number does not "include an estimated 858,000 RIM BlackBerry smartphones shipped in 2005," which Gartner does not classify as PDAs because of their telephone-focused design. Gartner’s definition of a PDA is "a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands."

Todd Kort at Gartner said, "RIM does not appear to be losing much momentum despite its legal problems and the threat of an injunction. Generally, BlackBerry users are staying put because of the high cost of switching… and the low probability of BlackBerry service being shut down."

According to the report, Palm saw "a 25 percent drop in unit shipments from 2004 to 2005," but "topped the list of PDA vendors in the fourth quarter of 2005 with 1.04 million units shipped, which Gartner attributes to Palm’s strong presence in the retail space and its resulting popularity among consumers."

Kort added, "We expect RIM will recapture the lead in the first quarter of 2006 as consumer PDA purchases subside. Palm’s PDA sales are being cannibalized by its Treo smartphones, which are expected to surpass Palm’s PDA shipments in 2006."

In the OS space, "Microsoft Windows CE was the king of PDA operating systems in 2005, with 7.05 million PDAs coming preloaded with the OS. That was up 33 percent from 2004 shipments of 5.28 million units. Palm OS PDA shipments declined 34 percent to 2.96 million units in 2005."