PDA Market Returns
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Consumers in the business market are starting to return to PDA phones much to the relief of HP and Palm.

Consumers in the business market are starting to return to PDA phones much to the relief of HP and Palm. Worldwide shipments of handheld computers rose by 6.6 percent in the first quarter, as the average selling price dropped, a market research firm said 
Shipments of personal digital assistants, or PDAs, rose to 3.65 million units in the quarter, Gartner Inc. said. Prices, however, fell on average by 2.7 percent compared with the same period a year ago to $395.

The decline was due primarily to a lack of new models that would have commanded a premium price, Gartner analyst Todd Kort said.

Gartner defines PDAs as data-centric devices that require both hands to operate. The research firm does not include smart phones, because those devices are voice first, data second.

The industry’s growth was primarily due to a 30.8 percent increase in shipments of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry units, which accounted for 25.5 percent of all PDA shipments in the quarter. The BlackBerry is the market leader.

Palm’s PDA shipments declined 25.2 percent to their lowest level since 1998, Gartner said. The decline, however, is expected as Palm focuses on its Treo smart-phone business.

Nevertheless, Palm was No. 2 with 12.6 percent of the market, followed by Hewlett-Packard, 11.5 percent; Mio Technology, 5.9 percent; and Dell, 3.9 percent.

In terms of operating systems, Microsoft Windows Mobile surpassed the half way mark for the first time, with a 52.6 percent market share. The RIM OS was second at 25.5 percent, followed by Palm OS, 13.4 percent; Symbian, 3.6 percent; and Linux, 1.2 percent.