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PDAs boom on back of business buy-in

The worldwide market for personal digital assistants grew by nearly 7% last year, boosted by corporate users, according to...

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The worldwide market for personal digital assistants grew by nearly 7% last year, boosted by corporate users, according...

to analyst firm Gartner.

Strong growth for RIM's BlackBerry device and increased interest in wireless connectivity generally helped worldwide shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) rise by 6.6% in 2004, said Gartner.

A higher average selling price (ASP) drove worldwide PDA revenue to a record £2.38bn, a 16.7% increase over 2003.

In the fourth quarter of 2004, the ASP of PDAs reached £196, up 9.4% on the same quarter in 2003.

"The PDA market has shifted from unconnected organisers overwhelmingly purchased by consumers, to a market in which 44% of the devices shipped in 2004 offered integrated wireless network connectivity," said Todd Kort, an analyst at Gartner.

"Wireless PDAs generally have higher ASPs, driving the market to record revenue," he said. "Another factor for the increased revenue is that nearly half of all PDAs are now purchased or reimbursed by enterprises."

While HP and PalmOne were first and second respectively by market share in 2004, Gartner said they would be overtaken by RIM in 2005.

"A major factor in RIM's recent success has been its ability to rapidly add many new carrier partners, expanding its geographical reach," said Kort.

"Around 20% of RIM's fourth-quarter shipments were in Europe and RIM is poised to become the world's leading PDA vendor in units shipped and revenue generated in 2005," he said.

The Blackberry is the most popular mobile e-mail device in the UK enterprise market.

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