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Palm size PC fire blazing

Palm size PC fire blazing

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If you have not been overtaken by the blazing fire being stoked by the vendors of personal digital assistants (PDAs), some news from the other major player might be of interest.

Australia, the importer and master distributor of Cassiopeia, the Casio Windows CE-based PDA offering, has released the E-100 colour palm-size PC.

And referring to it as "palm-size" is about the only vague reference the Casio representative is going to make to the 3Com product - except for the marketshare scoreboard.

Graeme Grant, marketing manager for the mobile technology division of Shriro, is getting very excited about the progress that the Cassiopeia range is making in the PDA war.

"In 1998 according to research company GFK Marketing, Cassiopeia captured 45.8 per cent of the PC type PDA market in the Australian reseller channel," Grant claimed. That is to say that, of those devices with the capacity to load applications and that are priced at $350 and up, close to half of them sold by the local channel were Cassiopeias, according to Grant.

Now this, of course, is a Casio-centric view of the market, but Grant also quoted some IDC research, which reported that last year, worldwide, 3.9 million palm-size PCs were sold.

This was a 61.4 per cent jump on the previous year.

The market share figures Grant quoted were 40 per cent 3Com Palm (up 66 per cent on the previous year), 25 per cent Windows CE (up 79) and other PDAs accounting for the remaining 35 per cent.

But of the WinCE devices, Casio had just under half (12 of the 25 per cent share). And Grant enthusiastically pointed out that Casio in Australia achieved the highest penetration per capita for the last two years.

While Shriro deals with the major retailers like Coles Myer, David Jones and Harvey Norman, it has developed a two-pronged IT channel strategy that incorporates portable specialist distributor and application developer APT and mainstream IT distributor Anabelle Bits. Grant expects the E-100 to continue gaining market share for Cassiopeia.

After its US release in mid May, for the first two months the E-100 outsold the Palm range, Grant claimed.

If the performance of the product in Japan and the US is any indication, the market could be in for a further shakeup.

Anabelle Bits

(02) 9384 8000

APT

(02) 9433 8300


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