US PDA market rockets past $1bn

Sales, unit shipments more than double during 2000

US buyers spent more than $1 billion on palmtops last year, more than twice the $436 million they forked out in 1999.

According to market researcher NPD Intelect, around 3.5 million PDAs and electronic organisers were shipped in the US during 2000, a 271 per cent increase on the 1.3 units shipped the year before.

Of course, the fact the units shipments grew more than sales shows that manufacturers are making less per unit than before, but given the way the PC market has gone, Palm, Compaq, Casio, Handspring and co. shouldn't be too upset.

Palm, in particular, since it entered 2001 with a 72 per cent marketshare, down from 87 per cent in 1999. Handspring came from nowhere to take 14 per cent of the market. The remaining 14 per cent is dominated by Windows CE-based PocketPC machines. Casio took six per cent of the market, down from 11 per cent. Compaq achieved 2.3 per cent, up from next to nothing. Hewlett-Packard and NEC took most of what was left.

NPD Intelect focuses on the retail and mail order markets, so pricey, corporate-oriented machines like Compaq's CE-based iPaq will get a poorer showing than you might expect since NPD doesn't factor in sales through more business-centric channels. Still, it's hard to see those 'missing' sales cutting too far into Palm's lead. ®

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