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Compaq iPaq Q1 sales skyrocket

Palm still way ahead, Psion marketshare slumps

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Let no one say Compaq's iPaq isn't popular in Europe. Sales of the PDA rocketed 1017.9 per cent during the first three months of 2001 compared to the same period last year, according to figures from UK-based market watcher Canalys.

By contrast, Palm's shipments grew just over 60 per cent and saw its leadership of the market fall to just 41.3 per cent.

That still puts Palm way ahead of Compaq - which scored a marketshare of 11.9 per cent to make it number two in the market - but it shows Palm can no longer take its dominance of the PDA business for granted.

Much will depend on how well it can manage the transition from the high-end Palm Vx to the m500 and m505. Assuming it can get product out to buyers, sales of the latter seem assured, but they will leave Palm with plenty of unsold Vxs on its hands.

All the other major PDA players showed big gains year-on-year. Casio's unit shipments grew 172.3 per cent, while fellow Windows CE supporter Hewlett-Packard saw its sales grow 107.2 per cent.

PalmOS licensees IBM saw its shipments rise 97.8 per cent. Handspring grew from nothing to become the fifth largest PDA seller in the market.

Only PDA pioneer Psion proved a loser - its sales fell a fraction over five per cent. In Q1 it came fourth in the PDA market, but it's hard not to see it being overtaken by Handspring during the current quarter, so close are their sales and so high is Handspring's growth. Psion's marketshare fell from just under 20 per cent to just under nine per cent.

Psion was also knocked into third place in terms of platform marketshare. The Palm OS took 50.7 per cent of the market, followed by PocketPC with 19.6 per cent. Psion's EPOC-32/Symbian OS accounted for 13.5 per cent of the market.

Canalys' figures also include sales of smartphones like Nokia's Communicator. The strong presence of Nokia and Ericsson show the potential of these devices to steal marketshare from true PDAs like Palm and PocketPC machines. However, it's worth bearing in mind that Ericsson's figures also include sales of its Symbian-based PDA, and that Nokia was discounting the price of its Communicator 9110 during the quarter to clear stocks and pave the way for a more advanced model, the 9210.

Whatever, we look forward to seeing Q2's figures, in particular to measure the growth of Handspring, Psion's shrinking marketshare, the success of Palm's m500/505 launch and - most of all - whether Compaq can sustain iPaq sales. It has been working to increase production to meet demand, but reports of poor quality control could yet hit demand hard as owners related their experiences with the machine to potential buyers. ®

Western Europe's mobile device market

  Q1 2001
share
Q1 2001
units
Q1 2000
units
Q1 2000
share
Palm 41.3% 347,262 215,153 52.1%
Compaq 11.9% 100,362 8,978 2.2%
Casio 9.5% 79,870 29,330 7.1%
Nokia 9.3% 78,280 49,510 12%
Psion 8.9% 74,820 78,720 19.1%
Handspring 7.2% 60,262 - -
Ericsson 4.6% 38,735 - -
HP 4.1% 34,210 16,515 4%
IBM 2.2% 18,265 9,235 2.2%
Others 1% 8,437 5,170 1.3%

Source: Canalys

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