Punters want cheap, simple PDAs

We don't want media players in our handhelds

Handheld vendors are repeatedly making mistakes by targeting the upper-end of the market, according to Jupiter Research.

The market for handheld PDAs is likely to remain flat so long as vendors mistakenly believe that consumers want convergent devices, Michael Gartenberg, research director at the analyst firm, argues.

"The best of everything cannot yet be fitted into one device. Consumers are willing to carry up to three devices and vendors are repeatedly missing market opportunities by thinking that consumers want high end to devices. People are not looking for media players in their handhelds. They are interested in the lower end of the market," he said.

Handheld PDAs in the US will number just over 14 million at the end of 2003 and volumes will grow to only 20 million by 2008, according to the new Jupiter Research report 'PDAs: Optimizing Integration'.

The adoption of portable devices increases as their size and complexity of use decreases, Jupiter notes. The report also identifies a so-called 'sweet spot' for handhelds to be those that offer voice, personal information management (PIM) or a combination of the two, and focus less on other integrated functions.

"We explored the reasons why vendors are creating multi-function devices and measured those against actual consumer demand for functionality and the number of devices people are willing to carry," Gartenberg said.

Basic PDAs with excellent PIM functionality will continue to make up the majority of sales while higher end devices will remain in niche markets only, he said. "But as phones with integrated and functional PDA capability come into the market, they can spur growth opportunities for vendors while eschewing other less desirable features such as game play or media integration," he said.

The report has also created a taxonomy for PDAs based on device form factor and key attributes that define mobile usage.

© Copyright 2004 ENN

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