E-Mail Apps Power PDA Shipments

The continuing popularity of wireless e-mail applications drove a 25 percent jump in first-quarter PDA shipments, according to new research from Gartner.

All told, 3.4 million PDAs were shipped in the first three months of the year, up from 2.7 million during the same period last year. In addition, the average selling price (ASP) of $406 was 15 percent higher. PDAs are at their highest ASP since Gartner began calculating the metric in 2000.

Gartner analysts attributed the increased prices to the popularity of high-end wireless models. During the first-quarter, approximately 55 percent of shipped PDAs included integrated wireless or cellular functionality.

“This increase is primarily the result of the growing popularity of wireless e-mail, with users favoring larger displays and QWERTY keyboards that are operated with both hands.” Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s computing platforms group, said in a statement.

Wireless e-mail helped propel Research in Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry into the top spot for PDA shipments at 711,000 units. RIM shipments have grown at a rate of 75.6 percent on a year-over-year basis and it now holds an almost 21 percent market share.

In contrast, palmOne saw a 26 percent slip to 614,750 units. Market share for palmOne PDAs hit their lowest mark since 1996, coming in at only 18 percent.

Adding insult to injury, Palm OS has now slipped down to the number 3 ranking for PDA operating systems, declining nearly 39 percent on a year-over-year basis to 20 percent. RIM leapfrogged passed Palm OS to take the number two spot for PDA OS coming
with approximately a 21 percent market share.

Microsoft leads the PDA OS race with a commanding 46 percent market share buoyed by 43 percent growth. Microsoft first gained the top PDA OS spot less than six months ago.

Not everyone agrees with Gartner’s rosy assessment of the PDA marketplace, though the assessment depends on how the PDA marketplace itself is defined.

IDC has noted that PDA shipment have declined,
though IDC does not include devices that include voice connectivity into its market sizing calculations.

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