IDC: Global PDA shipments down 6 percent in Q3

Worldwide shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) dropped 6 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier due to weak economies in most parts of the world, research company IDC said Tuesday.

A total of 2.44 million handhelds were shipped in the third quarter this year, compared with 2.59 million in the year-ago period. The number of shipments continued its sequential decline, down 7.1 percent from the second quarter, the third straight quarter-on-quarter drop, IDC said in a statement.

Palm Inc. leads the market with 33.8 percent, up from 29.1 percent. Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., both relatively new market entrants, also showed strong market share increases. Sony is now the world's second-largest PDA vendor with 14.4 percent of the market, up from 3.6 percent, and Toshiba is number four with a 4.3 percent market share, according to IDC. No data on Toshiba in 2001 was given.

Other vendors took a beating, notably Casio Computer Co. Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co., which saw their market share decline from 7.1 percent to 4.1 percent and 12.4 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively, IDC said.

IDC's big picture of the PDA market largely matches that given by rival research company Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc. The vendor top four is identical, but the number five position at IDC is taken by Casio, while Dataquest puts Handspring on four.

Dataquest's numbers showed worldwide PDA shipments totaled 2.55 million units in the third quarter of 2002, down 2.4 percent from the same period last year.

IDC expects PDA shipments in the fourth quarter to match last year's fourth quarter or be slightly below last year's figure.

IDC defines PDAs as pen-based and keypad-based handheld devices with features such as an address book and calendar. The definition excludes devices that combine voice telephony and traditional PDA features. Researchers counted shipments to distribution channels and those made directly to end users.

(IDC is a division of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.)

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