Neutral News For Handheld Computer Market

    May 11, 2006

According to the market research and consulting firm Gartner, the average retail price of handheld computers is decreasing, even as shipments worldwide are on the rise. Research in Motion’s Blackberry model led the growth, as the market leader experienced a 30.8 percent increase in shipments.

The Blackberry accounted for 25.5 percent of all handheld computer shipments in the quarter. Shipments on the whole reached 3.65 million units (up by 6.6 percent), as prices fell by 2.7 percent in comparison to the same period last year.

Todd Kort, an analyst for Gartner, says that handheld computer manufacturers need not be concerned by the price dip, attributing it to a lack of new, higher-priced models. And Gartner did not include smartphones in its data, instead defining handheld computers as “data-centric devices that require both hands to operate.” Smartphones are of course designed primarily for use as communication devices, and then for data.

Palm’s numbers were especially affected by this distinction, with its PDA shipments falling as its focus turned to its Treo smartphones. Falling by 25.2 percent, Palm’s PDA sales reached their lowest level since 1998. Despite this, Palm holds the second-largest market share of the PDA manufacturers.

Microsoft gained a majority share of the market in PDA operating systems, with 52.6 percent of PDAs sold loaded with Microsoft Windows Mobile. With 25.2 percent, RIM OS came in second, and the Palm OS finished in third, with a 13.4 percent share. Research in Motion may be poised to continue increasing their market share (already up from only 2.3 percent in 2002), as the company intends to launch a Blackberry service in China.

Gartner’s data suggests that the handheld computer market, though not growing as quickly as it once did, has not peaked out just yet, either.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.