IDC sees continuing decline in PDA market

If a handheld device doesn't have voice capabilities, a growing number of users around the world aren't interested, according to IDC.

For the third straight quarter, shipments of handheld devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) fell as some prominent vendors decided to pull back from the market, IDC said Wednesday.

Worldwide shipments totaled 2.1 million units in the third quarter, down 8.7 percent from last year's third quarter. IDC defines a handheld as a device that does not include telephony but may include Internet connectivity. This includes devices traditionally known as PDAs but excludes a growing category of devices known as smart phones, such as PalmOne's new Treo 650.

PDAs are in decline as mobile phone vendors have substantially improved the personal information management (PIM) capabilities of their phones. Most people don't want to carry two separate devices to manage their personal contacts and make phone calls, which has led to increased interest in devices such as PalmOne's Treo 650 and Hewlett-Packard's iPaq h6315. Attendees at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association's Wireless IT and Entertainment show in San Francisco this week flocked to booths from PalmOne and HP that had the new smart phones on display.

Vendors who fail to evolve their handheld devices beyond the core PIM capabilities will not succeed in this market unless they are willing to tolerate low margins, said David Linsalata, an analyst with IDC, in a release Wednesday. Companies such as Dell and Mitac International have made inroads into the market with low-cost, low-margin devices, but companies such as PalmOne, with higher cost products, have seen declines in their shipments.

PalmOne remains the overall shipment leader with 34.7 percent of the market, but its shipments declined 12.7 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. HP's non-phone iPaq devices bucked the overall trend in recent quarters with shipment growth of 11.7 percent in the third quarter, putting it in second place. HP has steadily gained market share in recent quarters as PalmOne has devoted more resources to getting its Treo smart phone products up and running.

Sony decided this year to pull back from the international PDA market to focus on the Japanese market. Sony had long occupied the third position in this market, but its shipments fell a staggering 81.5 percent in the third quarter. Even with that decline, the company still made the top five vendors worldwide, ranking fifth.

Dell ranked third on the worldwide list and Mitac was fourth. Both companies are relatively recent entrants into the market and are gaining share with low-cost handhelds, IDC said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?