Global PDA shipments up 32%

Worldwide PDA shipments jumped 31.9 per cent year on year to total 4.5 million units shifted in the third quarter. The proliferation of cellular-enabled PDA’s made available on a subsidised basis by carriers was the key factor in driving growth, said industry analyst Gartner.

Subsidies helped to push the average selling price (ASP) of PDAs down 13 per cent from the same period last year to $351. Much of the growth was generated by T-Mobile’s Danger Sidekick 3, Nokia’s E61/E62 and Motorola’s Q.

Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerries remained the most popular PDAs, accounting for 21 per cent of worldwide PDA shipments; however RIM only grew 10 per cent as it continues to shift its product mix toward smartphones, which were not included in this Gartner study.

“An influx of new cellular PDAs which are subsidised to some degree by wireless carriers resulted in a significant drop in ASP and pushed the market to the highest shipments level in PDA market history,” said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s Computing Platforms Worldwide group. “An estimated 62 per cent of all PDAs shipped in the third quarter offered cellular connectivity, up from 49 per cent the same time last year”.

The Sidekick has achieved near cult status among the 15-to-25 age group in the US, which propelled it to nearly 300 per cent growth in the third quarter, while at the other end of the spectrum Palm continued to recede from the PDA market, primarily because it does not have a PDA model that incorporates cellular capabilities and its current line is aging, Gartner said.

Palm’s PDA shipments declined 2.7 per cent from the same period last year. The Treo was excluded from Gartner’s PDA numbers because they are considered smartphones.

HP’s PDA business continued to struggle in the third quarter, declining 33 per cent compared to one year ago, while Microsoft’s Windows CE accounted for 50.3 per cent of PDA OS shipments, up from 49.4 per cent a year ago.

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