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Euro demand for PDAs has 'evaporated'

Wireless or nothing

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Who wants to buy a PDA? No one in Europe, according to market watcher IDC. They want smart phones and other wireless devices instead. Now, you might well assume the old-style PDA was dead, but IDC's figures, for Q3, will make very bad reading for PDA-based GPS system providers too.

During Q3, some 3.84m handhelds shipped into Europe, up 13 per cent on Q3 2005's total. That growth arose entirely from wireless devices, of which 30 per more units shipped year on year. PDA shipments, by contrast, plummeted 60 per cent.

Glug, glug, glug.

IDC described the plunge as an "evaporation of consumer demand".

The upshot: PDA suppliers Palm and HP saw big year-on-year unit-shipment declines - down 13 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively. HTC, RIM and Nokia, on the other hand, experienced growth of 275 per cent, 21 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively.

A sign that many PDAs come from less well-known brands, the 'others' category saw unit shipments fall 23 per cent between Q3 2005 and Q3 2006.

A lot of these guys, however, are also companies manufacturing the low-cost dedicated GPS units that have replaced the PDA-based bundles.

Palm and HP are pushing wireless devices hard, but their European shipments are well behind HTC's, which has won plenty of European cellco backing. HTC's move to build its own brand, however, could benefit the other players, particularly now Palm has embraced the Windows Mobile OS. ®

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