Handspring, Sony Gain on Palm

The Palm handheld platform continued to dominate the
handheld arena in February, but Palm-branded handhelds lost
ground to competitors including, for the first time, Sony,
according to market research firm NPD Intelect.


Overall, handhelds based on the Palm platform accounted for
86 percent of all handheld sales, according to the report. The
Palm platform has held about that level of market share
consistently for more than a year although Palm-based
products from vendors such as Handspring have taken unit
share away from Palm-branded handhelds.


For instance, Palm-branded handhelds accounted for about 80
percent of the market about a year ago, but now account for only
64.4 percent. The Palm-based Sony Clie broke into the top five for
the first time in February, notching a two percent market share.


The report covers the retail channel, not direct sales. According to the
study company, Unit shares for handhelds in February were:

Brand (Platform) % Unit Sales
Palm (Palm) 64.4
Handspring (Palm) 19.6
Casio (Pocket PC) 6.1
Hewlett Packard (Pocket PC) 3.7
Sony (Palm) 2.0

Source: NPD INTELECT Market Tracking

Missing from the list are Pocket PC handhelds from Compaq, which are sold largely via
direct sales, not through the retail channel. Speculatively, adding Compaq sales
would put market share for the Pocket PC platform over 10 percent.

Despite losing market share, dramatically increasing sales of handhelds overall have
led to a continuing increase in revenues for Palm, it said recently.

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