The handheld computer market should grow this year at about the same rate as it did last year, with both years well behind growth in 2000, a report released today said.
About 15.5 million handhelds will ship this year, approximately 18 per cent above the 13 million shipped in 2001, according to Gartner Dataquest.
The 18 per cent growth rate almost mirrors the rate of last year, but growth in handheld shipments skyrocketed by 114 per cent in 2000, the report said.
End users, meanwhile, are expected to spend about $US4.6 billion this year on handhelds, up from $3.8 billion last year.
About 75 per cent of all handhelds are sold to individuals, with the remainder bought with company funds, said Todd Kort, an analyst at Gartner's Dataquest unit. As the devices add more functions, colour screens and wireless capabilities such as e-mail, companies will purchase more, he said.
Kort predicted that as smart phones enter the market, they could overtake handheld shipments late this year or early in 2003. A smart phone is considered a voice cell phone first, but includes handheld computing functionality.