Handheld Device Market Shriveling

The relentless plummet continued with the market dropping 22.3 percent from the same quarter in the previous year, according to an IDC report released Thursday.

April 27, 2006

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Shipments of handheld devices continued their relentless plummet during the first quarter of 2006 dropping 22.3 percent from the same quarter in the previous year, according to an IDC report released Thursday by IDC.

The market research firm said handheld shipments totaled 1.5 million units in the quarter. The survey does not include telephony products such as cell phones, although some of the handheld units surveyed may feature wireless capability such as Wi-Fi access.

Palm continued to lead the market share standings with a 32.6 percent share, paced by its Palm Tungsten E2, and the Palm Z22. IDC noted that Palm's family of Treo smartphones continues to increase, surpassing its handheld device shipments.

IDC observed that even the inclusion of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and larger memories hasn't stopped the handheld market from shrinking.

"IDC believes that the market will eventually hit a size where the rate of year-over-year decline will slow to a sustainable level," said Ramon Llamas, research analyst, IDC Mobile Markets, in a statement. "That size has yet to be determined, but will be sustained by the core users of handheld devices as well as the enhancement found on these devices."Palm's shipments declined 23.3 percent from its numbers in the previous year's quarter while Hewlett-Packard's market share dropped 30 percent. HP's top handheld products operate Windows 5.0. Dell Computer had the third highest market share percentage (9.7 percent) while Acer held the fourth position (7.5 percent.)

In the fifth place with 7.1 percent market share was Mio, which was the only handheld supplier that enjoyed an increase -- 84.4 percent.

"After nine consecutive quarters of year-over-year decline, many are wondering how long this trend will continue and whether the market will see a reverse," said Llamas.

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