UK: Palm dominates handheld market - report

Palm devices dominated the handheld market in 1998 with take-up of Windows CE devices slower than expected, according to figures from research firm IDC.

IDC forecast last month that Palm's operating system would hold sway over Windows CE until 2002. The latest figures blame slow rollout of CE devices for its slow adoption in 1998.

Overall the market for handheld PCs is a healthy one according to the research. 1.4 million handhelds shipped in Europe in 1998 generating a revenue of more than $1bn. "The demand for mobile email, access to information and Internet access are all spurring demand for smart handheld companions," said IDC analyst Alison McKenzie who wrote the report.

Further growth is predicted in 1999 with the release of the Palm V and colour-screen devices from Windows CE vendors. Smartphones -- which experienced a disappointing year in 1998 -- are anticipated to take off in 2000 when devices from Ericsson and Nokia roll-out.

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