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REPORT: Windows Mobile Devices drove Worldwide PDA Market to 40% Growth in Q1
Posted by Arne Hess - on Wednesday, 23.05.07 - 10:44:35 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 17019x
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Shipments of Windows Mobile PDAs grew 64 percent in the first quarter of 2007, and this strong growth helped propel worldwide PDA shipments to 5.1 million units, a 39.7 percent increase from the first quarter of 2006, according to recently released report by Gartner, Inc.
Research In Motion continued to lead the PDA market, but its product mix has shifted toward smartphones, with the BlackBerry Pearl representing about 55 percent of RIM's total shipments in the first quarter of 2007. As such, RIM's PDA shipments were essentially flat.

Gartner analysts said RIM's PDA shipments should grow through the remainder of 2007 as the new 88xx and 83xx models replace the 87xx. Mio Technology, the leading Microsoft licensee, shipped nearly 568,000 PDAs, all with integrated GPS capability. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 57 percent of Mio's shipments, driven by sales of the C510 and C250 car navigation devices into Southern European countries.

"Microsoft Windows Mobile licensees accounted for nearly 3.2 million PDA shipments in the first quarter of 2007, or more than 60 percent of all PDA shipments in the quarter," said Todd Kort, principal research analyst in Gartner's Client Computing group. "This strong growth was surprising because Windows Mobile 6 will launch in the second quarter, accompanied by the launch of many new and improved models. Normally, consumers and businesses have constrained their purchases when upgrades are imminent."

Samsung, Sharp and Nokia round out the top five vendors in the first quarter of 2007 with market shares of 8.8 percent, 8.5 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively. Samsung benefited from a strong marketing effort led by Cingular to promote the BlackJack, seen by many as a low-cost alternative to the BlackBerry. Palm continued its focus on the smartphone market and dropped out the top five in the PDA market in the first quarter of 2007. Palm shipped 297,000 PDAs in the first quarter and ranked seventh in global PDA shipments.

Windows Mobile PDA OS shipments surpassed 3.1 million units accounting for 62.1 percent of shipments in the first quarter of 2007. RIM was the nearest competitor with 18.1 percent market share.

"With Windows Mobile device shipments up over 1.2 million units from the first quarter of 2006, Microsoft has achieved a dominant position in the market for data-centric devices. However, Microsoft has faltered in the much larger smartphone market," said Mr. Kort. "The reverse is true for Symbian and Nokia. RIM seems to be the only company making a balanced effort, although it still has a lot of catching up to do in the smartphone market."

Gartner Dataquest defines a PDA as a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than 1 pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open-market OS supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant-on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices. Examples include the RIM BlackBerry 8707v, HP iPAQ 69xx, Nokia E61, Motorola Q, T-Mobile Dash and Sidekick 3.

Smartphones offer all the attributes of a PDA, except that smartphones are voice-centric with data access as a secondary capability, and are designed for primarily one-handed operation. Examples include the Palm Treo 750v, RIM BlackBerry Pearl, Orange SPV C700, Nokia E60 and Sony Ericsson P990i.

Well, I have to admit that I have some serious problems with the way, Gartner classifies devices. A Motorola Q or T-Mobile Dash are data first and voice second devices while a Palm Treo 750 is a voice first and data second device? Sorry, but half of the day, I'm using my MOTO Q/T-Mobile Dash like Samsung i600 for voice calls while I'm using my Palm Treo 750v like O2 Xda trion for data only. That's also the way Microsoft described the difference of Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs in the early days:

  • Smartphone (now Windows Mobile Standard): Voice centric with great data support
  • Pocket PC Phone Edition (now Windows Mobile Professional): Data centric with great voice support

Therefore I'm not sure if the classification above is done the right way by Gartner. Nevertheless, the figures are impressive and who thought that Microsoft could reach such an achievement when everything started 7 years ago?

Cheers ~ Arne

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