Handheld shipments dipped in Q2

Worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments dragged in the second quarter of the year as the consumer market dried up and the corporate market failed to reach its volume potential, according to a report released Monday by Dataquest, a unit of Gartner.

PDA shipments dipped 21 per cent in the second quarter over the first quarter of the year, reaching less than 2.8 million units. Over 3.5 million units were shipped off during the first quarter of 2001, led by brisk sales of Palm Inc. handhelds.

Although Palm maintained its position as the number one PDA maker in terms of shipments in the second quarter, the PDA pioneer lost market share over the period while rival Compaq Computer Corp. gained ground with its corporate-targeted iPAQ, doubling its market share over the previous quarter. Corporate PDAs' diverse applications, higher price points and relatively low market penetration have made them more immune to the current economic slowdown, according to Dataquest analysts.

Despite this, the corporate PDA market has still not reached the point where it is receiving orders for 500 or more units from individual businesses. This kind of growth could be on the horizon, however, when packet-switched wireless e-mail abilities are added to next year's PDAs, the researcher noted. Armed with wireless e-mail, corporate users will be better able to justify PDA purchases to their IT departments by citing a increase in productivity, Dataquest predicted.