RealTime IT News

PDA Market Up And Down (Again)

According to Gartner, in the second quarter of 2005, worldwide PDA shipments increased by 32 percent. According to IDC, shipments decreased by almost 21 percent in the second quarter, marking the sixth quarter in a row of decline for the sector.

The divergent stats on what apparently is the same sector is nothing new and has in fact been going for some time. The catch? They both have different definitions of what constitutes the PDA or handheld market. IDC doesn't include devices that have cellular capability in its definition, which is something that Gartner does. In Gartner's definition of the market, "A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices."

In February of this year, Gartner analyst Todd Kort told internetnews.com that Gartner takes a different view of how to define a PDA and a smartphone. "There are some devices IDC classifies as smartphones that we think of as PDAs."

From Gartner's point of view there were 3.6 million PDA units shipped worldwide in 2Q05 (a 32 percent year-over-year increase). Based on the second quarter performance, Gartner has forecast the market will break its 2001 record of 13.2 million units and hit 15 million units shipped in 2005.

The leading PDA vendor, according to Gartner was, Research in Motion (RIM) with a 23 percent market share and 840,000 units shipped in the quarter. RIM's second quarter performance was an almost 65 percent improvement over its results from the same period a year ago. Number-two vendor Palm , at almost 18 percent market share, reported an almost 30 percent decline from last year to 642,000 units shipped.

HP's PDA offering didn't fair all that well either, recording a 15 percent decline, which was still enough for a 12.5 percent market share on volume of 450,513 units shipped.

The leading OS on PDAs, according to Gartner, is Microsoft , with a 46 percent market share, which was fuelled by 64 percent growth in the quarter vs. the same period last year. As an operating system, RIM shipped 65 percent more units than it did last year, which was enough to give it a 23 percent share. Palm declined by 41 percent, giving it a 19 percent market share, which itself is down dramatically from the 42 percent share it held of all PDA operating systems a year ago.

IDC's Handheld market report (which does not include RIM) had Palm as the top vendor, with a market share of 36.5 percent. Palm's shipped volume was down by 31 percent for the second quarter. HP held onto the number-two spot at 18 percent market but also reported a 39 percent decline in shipped unit volume.