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PDA sales continue to fall as wirelesspopularity grows

The personal digital assistant market appears to be continuing to decline as manufacturers switch their focus to handheld wireless devices, according to analyst firm IDC's quarterly PDA report, writes Eric Doyle.

Worldwide sales are down 12.1% on the same period last year and have plummeted 25.4% since the last quarter of 2001. However, this still represents an estimated market of 3.25 million units.

Palm is maintaining a substantial lead over its competitors, with a 39% share of the market, but the Microsoft PocketPC champion Compaq iPaq continues to gain ground, especially in Europe.

The iPaq, which is expected to oust the Hewlett-Packard Jornado PDA if the merger with Compaq goes through, accounted for 10.1% of the market, rising above the Palm-based Handspring's 9.9% share. A possible reason for the switch in positions is anticipation of the Handspring Treo, a wireless-enabled PDA phone which may boost the company back to the second slot.

Among the also-rans is the Linux-based Sharp Zaurus which lies below Sony at fifth in the IDC listings.

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