PDA Penetration Flattens

One device just isn’t enough for a population that becomes increasingly focused on accessibility, communication and technology, as Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) found that the popular limited-function PDA

[define] will likely be replaced with units that perform a variety of tasks.

Jupiter expects the handheld market will only grow from 14 million in 2003 to 20 million in 2008, resulting in just 7 percent penetration in the U.S. PDA growth is forecast to remain flat at 5 percent to 2005, and then registering just a 1 percentage point increase over the next two years until peaking in 2008.

Evidence of the growing multifunction trend comes from The Computer Industry Almanac’s estimates that worldwide feature-rich smartphone sales will account for 45 percent of the PDA market by 2008 — with Western Europe topping 63 percent — and In-Stat/MDR’s finding that more than half of surveyed consumers were interested in checking e-mail from their wireless handheld devices.

Of these services, which would be
most interested in doing from your
handheld wireless device?
Checking and responding to your e-mail 51.2%
Determining your location and the location
Of family or friends with similar phones
Sending/receiving digital photos to other
phones or computers
Playing games and multiplayer games 1.6%
Sending, receiving and listening to songs
purchased from an online music site
Source: In-Stat/MDR

According to the Jupiter report, the three most popular portable devices are cellular phones, calculators, and PDAs, yet one-third of consumers are only willing to carry one unit. Research associate and lead analyst for the Jupiter Research PDA report, Melissa Stock, explains that PDAs that have optimized basic personal information management (PIM) [define] will remain popular but consumers are going to become increasingly interested in having voice, calculator and PIM in one portable device.

“In the report, we suggest that a PIM phone, a phone with the ability to reference calendar, contacts, etc. after synchronization with a PC, would be a great way to integrate all three of these consumer desires,” commented Stock.

The research found that there is a market for personal devices that contain optional and niche applications, such as MP3 players, cameras, games, etc. “There are two segments of the population that need to be addressed: business and personal,” Stock added.

Stock further explains: “The devices that will be most popular among personal users are the devices that address the need for optimized primary functions. Therefore, devices with optimized PIM functionality, long battery life and good synchronization will continue to address the personal PDA market while stand alone devices with music, games and other features of lesser consumer demand as the primary function will remain the best option to address optional and niche needs.”

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