PDA shipment figures slump again

With smartphones running rampant, could GPS prove to be the saviour of the PDA?
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor on

The latest figures from IDC suggest that the traditional PDA could be in terminal decline.

The analyst firm reported on Thursday worldwide shipments of PDAs dropped by over 20 percent year-on-year to 1.7 million units in the second quarter of 2005 — the sixth successive quarterly decline.

HP took the biggest hit, seeing its shipments drop by 39 percent. The company stayed in second place for market share behind Palm, which suffered a 31 percent decline.

IDC defines PDAs as devices that synchronise with PC but don't include voice functionality. Their decline is partly due to the growing popularity of smartphones. Research in Motion, creator of the hugely successful BlackBerry, recently launched the BlackBerry 7100 which works as a phone as well as giving remote access to email.

And earlier this week, Motorola unveiled a colour device called the Motorola Q QWERTY smartphone. It runs on Windows Mobile, includes a half-size keyboard and offers email and Web access.

Among those people who are still buying a PDA, features such as GPS are popular. Acer saw its year-on-year shipments rise by over 600 percent, driven by sales of its n35 handset which includes GPS functionality.

According to Kevin Burden, IDC's research manager for mobile devices, the health of the PDA market in the future depends on manufacturers creating new products that can "leverage the unique hardware and software capabilities of the handheld device".

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