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
- 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