Palm's handheld market in Asia up 11 percent

US-based handheld maker Palm Inc said it increased its Asia Pacific market share, excluding Japan and the PRC, by almost 11 percent for products based on its operating system (OS) last year.

SINGAPORE--US-based handheld maker Palm Inc said it increased its Asia Pacific market share, excluding Japan and the PRC, by almost 11 percent for products based on its operating system (OS) last year.

The company was citing an International Data Corp (IDC) study--Asia Pacific Smart Handheld Device Report--which showed its market share for Palm OS-based devices growing from 51.7 percent in 1999 to 62.5 percent last year.

Palm OS-based devices refer to all brands, including Palm handhelds, that run on the Palm operating system.

When contacted, IDC Asia Pacific research manager Davina Yeo and Palm Asia Pacific group marketing manager Sharon Ee both declined to reveal revenues generated by Palm and other vendors for these devices in the region.

Palm noted, however, that shipments to the region grew by 237 percent year-on-year.

When asked what contributed to the growth of Palm OS-based devices, Ee pointed to Palm's "transparent technology" as one factor that has allowed many developers to use its platform, and integrate content and applications for enterprises.

Handheld companions, Palm-branded markets
The market research firm also noted that total sales of handheld companions--comprising the PC and personal companion categories--in Asia Pacific reached 2.03 million units last year. This represented a growth of 226 percent from 1999.

The PC companion category refers to the slightly larger handhelds such as "clam shells and Psion-type devices", said Ee, while the personal companion category refers to pocket-sized and pen-based devices such as iPaqs and Jornadas.

In terms of the number of handheld companions on the Palm OS, 543,001 units were shipped last year, compared with 126,658 in 1999.

As for Palm-branded devices, the company said shipments grew by 192 percent year-on-year as market share increased to 52.7 percent.

Palm said it had appointed distributors for its products in countries such as Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Ee cited Palm's vibrant developer base, firm customer base and the adoption of the enterprise area as growth factors for the Singapore market. "We have a very strong position in the handheld space here and we expect to maintain the leadership here," she claimed.

Commenting on Palm's position on third generation (3G) mobile technology, she said: "We think 3G is a critical step in the evolution of wireless networks...whilst we are ensuring that our devices are compatible with different technologies in the market place. Our most immediate focus is on the 2.5G network technologies like General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)."

Note: This story has been amended since first published. The Asia Pacific figures cited should exclude both Japan and the PRC. We regret any inconvenience caused.

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