Gartner: PDA shipments drop in Q1

The weak economy continues to dampen demand for PDAs (personal digital assistants), according to data published Tuesday by Gartner Inc.

PDA shipments in the first quarter of 2003 were 2.8 million units, down 11.1 percent from 3.2 million units in the same period last year, Gartner said in a statement.

Palm Inc. retained its leading position in the worldwide ranking, accounting for 32.8 percent of global PDA shipments. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) held onto its No. 2 spot with a 16 percent market share, followed by Sony Corp. with a market share of 13.3 percent.

Toshiba Corp. and Sony showed the strongest growth with growth rates of 276 percent and 60 percent respectively.

Although Dell Computer Corp. forced HP to follow a more aggressive pricing strategy, the PDA newcomer has yet to erode HP's position seriously, Gartner analyst Todd Kort said in the statement.

Dell shipped 139,500 units in the first quarter, its first operating quarter, representing a market share of 4.9 percent.

Although Palm continued to lead the U.S. PDA market with a 38.2 market share, the company was the only top-tier vendor to post negative growth in the first quarter, down 22.1 percent year-on-year, according to Gartner.

With 16.6 percent of the U.S. market, Sony moved up to the No. 2 spot, pushing HP into the third position with 13.5 percent.

First-quarter shipments of PDAs running the Palm operating system accounted for 49 percent of the worldwide market, despite a decline of nearly 400,000 units. The Microsoft Corp.'s Windows CE operator system achieved a 36 percent market share, with shipments up 330,000 in the first quarter over the same period the year before.

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