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PDA shipments decline due to weak economy

The number of handheld PDAs shipped worldwide has declined 9.3% in the second quarter of 2002 compared with the same quarter last...

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The number of handheld PDAs shipped worldwide has declined 9.3% in the second quarter of 2002 compared with the same quarter last year, according to market researcher IDC.

About 2.6 million PDAs were shipped in the second quarter, down from just under 2.9 million in the same quarter last year, IDC said.

Demand was soft in the second quarter because the economy in most regions is weak, said Weili Su, senior analyst in IDC's Smart Handheld Devices research service. In the second half of this year, worldwide market growth is expected to remain flat compared with last year.

IDC defines PDAs as pen-based and keypad-based handheld devices with features such as an address book and calendar. The definition excludes devices that combine voice telephony and traditional PDA features. Researchers counted shipments to distribution channels and direct to end-users.

Palm held the largest share of the market in the second quarter of this year with 32.2%, up from 30.9% last year. PDAs made by Hewlett-Packard were second with 16.5% and Sony with 10%, were third. Handspring with 6.5% and Hi-Tech Wealth Electronic Product with 4.6% were fourth and fifth respectively, according to IDC.

The second quarter of this year marked the first time IDC counted shipments of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer handheld devices together. HP's acquisition of Compaq moved it into the number two position among PDA vendors. Given the success of Compaq's iPaqs, Hewlett-Packard will continue to challenge Palm's top market position.

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