Leader of the iPaq

HP is dominating the handheld PC space, according to the latest IDC Smart Handheld Device Tracker report.

iPaq sales accounted for 46.1 per cent of handheld devices shipped in Australia from April 2003 to March 2004, a figure that could rise even further following Sony’s withdrawal of its Clie brand from everywhere but Japan last month.

PalmOne was second (35 per cent), followed by Toshiba (5.4 per cent), Acer (3.6 per cent) and Sony (2.7 per cent).

However, IDC’s PC analyst, Michael Sager, said the market for converged handhelds – those that are more than just personal organisers and include on-board voice technology – was the one to watch during the coming year.

“The market for pen-based handheld devices grew by less than 1 per cent since last quarter,” he said. “The converged product space grew by 27.9 per cent. It’s achieved a year-on-year increase of 148 per cent compared to 35.8 per cent in the handheld PC market.” HP is promising some additions to the iPaq suite in coming months.

“We have new products coming out in August that are geared towards digital entertainment,” market development manager for iPaq in Australia, Julianne Bean, said. “Our new models will have a digital camera, MPEG4 capture and playback and can be used as a universal remote control.” Bean also mentioned a launch of a fully converged iPaq, but could notsay when they would appear.

“The price entry point for our wireless products has shifted – it is now $699 instead of over $1000 – and budgets are going up,” she said. “We see a huge possibility for growth in applications such as sales force automation in the hospitality industry or wireless communications for courier companies. We’re really excited about how the market will react, and so are our resellers.”

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