IDC: Demand for PDAs stalls in Q1

IDC: Demand for PDAs stalls in Q1

Worldwide demand for PDAs (personal digital assistants) continues to decline as manufacturers attempt to switch from selling electronic organisers to handheld wireless devices, according to IDC's quarterly PDA report.

Global shipments of PDAs in the first quarter of 2002 fell 12.1 per cent year on year in the first quarter, and dropped 25.4 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2001, to 3.25 million units shipped, IDC said.

Though sales of PDAs are usually expected to decline in the first quarter of the year, due to a seasonal lull after the Christmas holiday gift-giving season, general demand for PDAs has been stagnant over the past year, IDC said.

Palm continued to dominate both the US and the worldwide PDA market, holding a 39 per cent share of the worldwide market (1.27 million units shipped) and 47.5 per cent of the US market (810,880 units shipped), IDC said.

Palm, which once stood virtually alone in the PDA market, has faced fierce competition from companies such as software licensee Handspring and other manufacturers using Microsoft's software. Last month, Palm posted a small profit of $US2.9 million for its fiscal third quarter to March 1, despite a year-on-year decline in revenue of 38 per cent to $292.7 million.

In the worldwide PDA market, Palm's nearest competitor is Compaq Computer (10.1 per cent of the market with 329,000 units shipped), followed by Handspring (9.9 per cent of the market with 322,000 units shipped), Sony (7.7 per cent of the market with 250,000 units shipped) and Sharp (4.5 per cent of the market with 145,720 units shipped), IDC said.

The Compaq iPaq product has been performing so well that, should the acquisition of the company by Hewlett-Packard be finalised, the iPaq would most likely become the PDA product line for the merged company, IDC said. With that transition pending, HP's worldwide PDA shipments declined 43.9 per cent sequentially in the first quarter, which IDC said was "not surprising".

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