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Handheld Computer Market Up, Prices Down

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 Monday.

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.

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