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Wireless E-Mail Drives PDA Sales

  |  May 9, 2005   |  Comments

Manufacturers offering wireless e-mail access gain the most market share.

Worldwide shipments of PDA devices increased 25 percent in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the same period last year. This is according to a report by Gartner Dataquest, which attributes the hike in numbers to an increase in models offering wireless email.

PDAs using the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system gained the top overall spot, though the total includes units from multiple hardware manufacturers including Hewlett-Packard and Dell. BlackBerry manufacturer RIM is up 75.6 percent, shipping over 711,000 units this past quarter, compared to 405,000 units at the beginning of last year. PalmOne lost the most market share, as shipments fell to 614,750 units from 834,591 shipped in the first quarter of 2004.

"The Microsoft platform is growing about as rapidly as the PalmOne platform is declining," Todd Kort, principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest told ClickZ Stats. "PalmOne has been going down about 20 percent per year, and Microsoft has been gaining about that much every year."

Worldwide: Preliminary PDA Vendor Shipment Estimates, Q105 (Units)
Company Q105 Shipments Q105 Market Share (%) Q104 Shipments Q104 Market Share (%) Q105 - 1Q04 Growth (%)
RIM 711,000 20.8 405,000 14.8 75.6
palmOne 614,750 18.0 834,591 30.5 -26.3
HP 601,352 17.6 575,853 21.0 4.4
Nokia 340,000 9.9 - 0.0 N/A
Dell 217,000 6.3 163,250 6.0 32.9
Others 935,010 27.3 757,378 27.7 23.5
Total 3,419,112 100.0 2,736,072 100.0 25.0
Notes: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 650 and BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 6315 and Nokia 9300. Columns may not add to totals shown because of rounding. N/A = Not applicable
Source: Gartner Dataquest, April 2005

Worldwide, shipments are increasing as manufacturers expand their market reach. RIM BlackBerry had been an American phenomenon, though it's starting to pick up in Europe.

"The European market has been going very strongly for over a year now, and we are constantly upgrading our forecasts," comments Kort.

Kort notes RIM doesn't have a lot of competition in the wireless space. He also attributes their continued growth to the number of new carriers picking up BlackBerry models, extending their global footprint.

Worldwide: Preliminary PDA Vendor Shipment Estimates by Operating System, Q105
Company Q105 Shipments Q105 Market Share (%) Q104 Shipments Q104 Market Share (%) Q105 - 1Q04 Growth (%)
Windows CE 1,573,062 46.0 1,100,008 40.2 43.0
RIM 711,000 20.8 405,000 14.8 75.6
Palm OS 684,750 20.0 1,119,714 40.9 -38.8
Symbian 340,000 9.9 - 0.0 N/A
Linux 27,300 0.8 34,800 1.3 -21.6
Others 83,000 2.4 76,550 2.8 8.4
Total 3,419,112 100.0 2,736,072 100.0 25.0
Notes: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 650 and BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 6315 and Nokia 9300. Columns may not add to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner Dataquest, April 2005

The average selling price of handheld units is up 15 percent over last year, due to an increase in shipments of high-end models with wireless features. The non-wireless market, meanwhile, is seeing a rapid decline in sales.

Stronger competition may soon be expected from Pocket PC edition phones. Kort points to improvement in the category, and says handsets are starting to get better and sport more interesting designs.

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Enid Burns

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