PDA sales carry on slumping in Q2

IDC surveys wreckage

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The worldwide market for personal digital assistants (PDAs) continues on its precipitous slide, falling 9.3% in the second quarter of 2002, according to market research house International Data Corp (IDC).

IDC's figures are far worse than those published in early August by rival market research house Gartner Inc's Dataquest unit, which estimated that the market fell 3.5% to 2.7 million units. The market continues to fall in all regional areas studied, and will not improve for at least another two quarters, predicts IDC, and the fall is not just exaggerated by buoyant numbers last years, sequentially (compared to the first quarter of 2002) the market is down 16%.

IDC claims that the number of PDAs shipped fell from 2.89 million units in the second quarter of 2001, to 2.62 million in the second quarter of 2002, a 9.3% decline. Palm Inc remains the leading vendor in terms of unit volume with 30.8% of the market and 845,640 units shipped in the quarter, down 5.0%. Hewlett-Packard Co was second placed with 16.5% of the market with 431,650 units, down 32.8%. Sony Corp, which released a cut price line of Palm OS-based handhelds this year, was the only top-five company to grow its shipments, up 248.5% to 261,380 units, a 10.0% market share. Handspring, another Palm OS licensee, saw the largest fall in units shipped, down 42.8% to 170,590 units, a market share of just 6.5%. The other top 10 vendors that saw growth were Chinese manufacturer Legend, and Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp.

Hewlett-Packard is the biggest surprise, it is clearly a leader in revenue terms as its Pocket PC-based devices are far more expensive than the Palm OS-based alternatives, but what is not clear is how it managed to show a net 5.7% decline in its market share after the merger of the Compaq Computer Corp and Hewlett-Packard handheld product lines.

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