PDA Shipments Return To Growth

Worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments totaled 2.75 million units in the second quarter of 2004, a 12 percent increase from the second quarter of 2003, according to preliminary resultsby Gartner, Inc. The year-over-year growth rate broke a string of 10 consecutive quarterly shipment declines.

The industry’s growth is largely attributed to the significant increase in Research in Motion’s (RIM’s) BlackBerry shipments. RIM’s shipments increased 289 percent in the second quarter of 2004 (see Table 1). The company’s success was driven by the BlackBerry’s e-mail capabilities, as well as a growing number of third-party applications and wireless data services that are becoming available to BlackBerry users.

Hewlett-Packard’s PDA shipments increased 38.9 percent in the second quarter, although most of its models were about one year old. Gartner analysts said these results demonstrate the strong reputation the HP iPAQ has cultivated within many large organizations. HP did well in Europe because of the success in GPS modules and the strong adoption of Bluetooth.

“The second quarter results show a continuing shift from what has been a predominantly consumer market to a market in which more than one-third of all PDA purchases are made by organizations,” said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group.

Table 1Preliminary Worldwide PDA Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q04(Units)                         2Q04      2Q04     2Q03      2Q03Company                Shipments  Market  Shipments   Market   Growth                                  Share               Share      (%)                                   (%)                (%)----------------------------------------------------------------------palmOne                 913,202    33.2    943,807     38.5     -3.2Hewlett-Packard         529,773    19.3    381,298     15.5     38.9Research in Motion      510,000    18.6    131,100      5.3    289.0Sony                    174,804     6.4    272,638     11.1    -35.9Dell                    147,500     5.4    138,517      5.6      6.5Others                  473,372    17.2    586,963     23.9    -19.4Total                 2,748,651   100.0  2,454,323    100.0     12.0----------------------------------------------------------------------Note: Totals include cellular PDAs, such as the RIM BlackBerry 7230, but not smartphones, such as the Treo 600. palmOne's results include Handspring PDA shipments.Source: Gartner Dataquest (July 2004)

In terms of PDA operating systems shipments, Palm OS continued to lead the market with a worldwide market share of 41.7 percent in the second quarter of 2004, but its market share was down from the second quarter of 2003 when it accounted for 51 percent of the market. Windows CE’s market share in the second quarter of 2004 reached 36.6 percent, up slightly from the same period last year when its market share totaled 36.3 percent. RIM’s share of the PDA OS market increased to 18.6 percent, up from 5.3 percent market share in the second quarter of 2003.

With the increased sales in the business market, Gartner analysts said the worldwide PDA market is positioned for low single-digit growth in 2004. PDA shipments are projected to approach 12 million units this year.

“Smartphones will continue to impact the PDA market. However, the high prices of smartphones and their relative immaturity will prevent a rapid shift from PDAs,” Kort said. “Instead, the vast majority of smartphone sales in the next year will be to individuals upgrading their cell phones. The palmOne Treo is one of the few exceptions.”