Worldwide shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) dropped 6 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier due to weak economies in most parts of the world, according to research company IDC.
A total of 2.44 million handhelds were shipped in the third quarter this year, compared with 2.59 million in the year-ago period. The number of shipments continued its sequential decline, down 7.1 per cent from the second quarter, the third straight quarter-on-quarter drop, IDC said in a statement.
Palm leads the market with 33.8 per cent, up from 29.1 per cent. Sony and Toshiba, both relatively new market entrants, also showed strong market share increases. Sony is now the world's second-largest PDA vendor with 14.4 per cent of the market, up from 3.6 per cent, and Toshiba is number four with a 4.3 per cent market share, according to IDC. No data on Toshiba in 2001 was given.
Other vendors took a beating, notably Casio and HP, which saw their market share decline from 7.1 per cent to 4.1 per cent, and 12.4 per cent to 11.9 per cent, respectively, IDC said.
IDC's big picture of the PDA market largely matches that given by rival research company Dataquest, a unit of Gartner. The vendor top four is identical, but the number five position at IDC is taken by Casio, while Dataquest puts Handspring on four.
Dataquest's numbers showed worldwide PDA shipments totalled 2.55 million units in the third quarter of 2002, down 2.4 per cent from the same period last year.
IDC expects PDA shipments in the fourth quarter to match last year's fourth quarter or be slightly below last year's figure.
IDC defines PDAs as pen-based and keypad-based handheld devices with features such as an address book and calendar. The definition excludes devices that combine voice telephony and traditional PDA features. Researchers counted shipments to distribution channels and those made directly to end users.