An article at TechTree reports
that according to IDC's Worldwide Handheld QView, shipments of
handheld devices fell nearly 20 percent year-over-year in the
fourth quarter of 2004 to 2.8 million units. This was the fourth
successive quarter of decline. For all of 2004, shipments of
handheld devices was just 9.2 million units, a decrease of 13
percent over 2003's shipments.
Meanwhile, IDC reports that mobile phone purchases were the
highest ever. Worldwide mobile phone shipments were 194.3 million
units in the fourth quarter of 2004, growing 24 percent year over
year. For the full year 2004, these shipments increased 29.3
percent over 2003.
The problem, of course, is that try as they might, handhelds
haven't been able to get past being a PIM. They're standalone
devices that don't interact in significant ways. Adding Bluetooth
and Wi-Fi is really too little, too late.
People buy phones to talk
to other people and that's a much more popular pastime than
managing your to-do list. Of course, phones do more than that, but
Jupiter Research Analyst Michael
Gartenberg speak a year or so ago on this topic. According to
Jupiter's research, people mostly by phones for the phone. Go
I think that the reason that people buy phones for the phone is
that's the one part of the device that the mobile carriers can't
ruin with their attempts to lock people into their network. I find
the Web experience on most mobile services to be abysmal and that's
not because of small form factor. It's because they try to keep you
in their walled garden and stuff ringtones and wallpaper down your
At some point, I hope that my phone, with an integrated PIM,
will be able to do some simple groupware tasks like coordinating
the scheduling of a conference call, but that's not likely to
happen in the current climate. Until then, people will continue to
buy phones for talking.