Smart handhelds to find strong favour

The smart handheld device market continues to undergo healthy market growth, with 1999 worldwide unit shipments expected to total 8.9 million, according to a just-released forecast report by International Data Corp. (IDC).

This volume represents a healthy increase of 34.5 per cent over actual unit shipments for 1998, which stood at 6.6 million.

By 2000, IDC said that it expects growth to increase to 44.5 per cent as the industry continues to see strong demand for the $US300 personal companion segment, a growing interest for devices costing less than $US200 that are based on the Palm OS and Windows CE, and the emergence of new smart phones from major handset suppliers.

The smart-phone market continues to grow despite its low volumes: 654,000 units shipped worldwide in 1998. IDC expects the market to surge ahead in 2000 and 2001 as early technology adoption from regions such as Japan, new products resulting from the Symbian alliance (which aims to create a standard OS for information appliances), and interim two-piece solutions accelerate the market. Worldwide smart-phone shipments are expected to earn a compound annual growth rate of 78.3 per cent between 1999 and 2003.

However, a separate Gartner Group report, titled "Clear and present danger: smart phones getting too smart," notes that by 2005, at least 10 per cent of the attacks on a Fortune 2000 enterprise's network will be caused by an infected mobile device spreading hostile code.

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