Report: Better PDA Sales Await

Shipments of handhelds grew last year, but not very quickly, according to a report released Wednesday by Cahners In-Stat/MDR.

Handheld shipments grew 17 percent in 2001 even though the economy was weak, the report notes. Overall, eight million units shipped.

However, that still represents a significant slow-down for the industry that was acutely felt by vendors such as Palm, which saw the market share of its handhelds erode significantly during the course of the year.

Despite inroads made by the Pocket PC operating system, the Palm OS still holds a significant lead, the report notes. Industry-wide, 2002 looks better, with an expected increase in sales of 18 percent, the report said. Still, the long-term market looks brighter, the report notes, with the compounded annual growth rate pegged at 25 percent between 2001 and 2005.

“Shipments in 2002 for PDAs will increase about 18 percent as new manufacturers enter the market and a wave of wireless functionality takes hold in a big way,” said Neil Strother, a senior wireless handset analyst with In-Stat/MDR. “The future will be all about making the PDA a more ubiquitous device and more useful to both the mobile business user and the on-the-go consumer.”

The market will peak in 2004 with an annual growth rate of 30 percent, the report predicts.

The findings are part of the report: “Getting a Grip on PDAs: Analysis of the Personal Digital Assistant Market, Segmentation and Forecasts.”

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