Worldwide PDA shipments totaled 3.45 million units in the third quarter of 2005, a 20.7 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. The market is on pace to reach 15 million units shipped in 2005, surpassing the record 13.2 million units shipped in 2001.
"The rapid spread of wireless e-mail and use of GPS-enabled PDAs, which offer most of the functionality of dedicated car navigation systems at a fraction of the cost, is propelling the PDA market to record growth," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "This growth is most noticeable in Europe. In fact, Europe is catching up with North America in terms of usage of PDAs in vertical markets and cellular PDAs."
Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry shipments grew 52.6 percent in the third quarter, as the company extended its lead as the No. 1 vendor in worldwide PDA shipments. RIM accounted for about half of the worldwide growth from one year ago. However, Blackberry PDA shipments were up less than 3 percent sequentially, as RIM's product mix is shifting a bit more toward its smartphones, which now account for an estimated 18 percent of RIM shipments.
HP's iPAQ shipments declined 20.2 percent in the third quarter. PalmOne's PDA shipments declined 36 percent, resulting in a drop to the No. 3 position. The Sidekick II and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices pushed T-Mobile into fourth place, with 305.5 percent growth.
Microsoft maintained its position as the leading PDA operating system supplier, as it accounted for 49.2 percent of worldwide shipments in the third quarter of 2005. RIM secured the No. 2 position with 25 percent of the market.
The Western European PDA market grew 53.4 percent with 1.2 millions units shipped in the third quarter of 2005. Western Europe accounted for 34.2 percent of worldwide shipments, up from 26.9 percent one year ago. European growth accounted for approximately 70 percent of the worldwide growth relative to one year ago. PDA shipments in the United States totaled 1.4 million units, a 2.2 percent increase. Although the U.S. market was relatively flat, it still accounted for 41 percent of worldwide PDA shipments in the third quarter.
Gartner defines a PDA as a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open market operating system supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices.