Wireless LAN brings PDAs back in first quarter of 2005

May 6, 2005

Worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments totaled 3.4 million units in the first quarter of 2005, a 25 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. This was the strongest first quarter the industry has experienced.
RIM's BlackBerry became the No. 1 in worldwide PDA shipments. Microsoft has become the No. 1 PDA operating system.

The average selling price (ASP) of PDAs increased 15 percent in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the first quarter of 2004. The ASP was $406, which is the highest since Gartner began ASP estimates in 2000. Gartner analysts attributed the increased prices to the popularity of high-end wireless models.

"PDAs with integrated wireless local area network (LAN) or cellular capabilities accounted for approximately 55 percent of all PDAs shipped in the first quarter of 2005," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "This increase is primarily the result of the growing popularity of wireless e-mail, with users favoring larger displays and QWERTY keyboards that are operated with both hands."

Research in Motion's BlackBerry shipments grew 75.6 percent in the first quarter, as the company became the No. 1 ranked vendor in worldwide PDA shipments. palmOne PDA shipments declined 26.3 percent, and its market share fell to 18 percent, its lowest market share since it entered the market in 1996. Nokia's re-entry into the wireless PDA market with the 9300 and 9500 enabled it to move into the No. 4 position.

Microsoft has become the No. 1 PDA operating system (OS), as it accounted for 46 percent of worldwide shipments. RIM assumed the second position, as Palm OS slipped to the No. 3 ranking, due to Palm OS shipments declining 38.8 percent. "We expect that palmOne will be adding other operating systems and setting more of its own direction, while PalmSource is redirecting itself toward Linux and smartphones," Mr. Kort said.

The Western European PDA market grew 84.3 percent to 1.3 million units in the first quarter of 2005, while PDA shipments in the also totaled 1.3 million units, a 5 percent increase. PDA shipments in Asia/Pacific declined 2.7 percent with approximately 352,000 unit shipments. In Japan, PDA shipments declined 21.3 percent with nearly 80,000 units shipped in the first quarter.

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