While shipments declined in 2003, PDAs have continued their evolution into multimedia and business data devices, reports In-Stat/MDR. The high-tech market research firm finds that most companies in this industry are hoping for a rebound into positive growth, with manufacturers still focusing on growing the market by attracting new users and convincing current users to upgrade. As the economy improves and IT spending recovers, PDA manufacturers are also hoping for increased shipments to corporations. While growth will only be in the single digits, PDA shipments are forecasted to have a 6.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the 2003-2008 period, with shipments forecasted to reach 10.8 million units in 2004.
The company released a report, "The PDA Market: Can it Re-invent Itself by Enhancing Usability?" (#IN0401159ID), where it compiles research and analyses on the worldwide PDA market and provides a review of the market in 2003 in terms of unit shipments, vendor and operating system market shares and trends. It also forecasts unit shipments, revenues, and regional segmentation from 2003 to 2008, and depicts processor market shares and revenue. The report provides profiles of major vendors and their most recent products, and discusses market trends, opportunities and challenges.
"Even with poor economic conditions, there was no shortage of PDA product introductions in 2003," said Cindy McCurley, an industry analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "PPC devices got smaller, prices continued to decline, and there was greater availability of products with integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi from all manufacturers." Some innovations for the year included the first VGA displays, displays in portrait and landscape mode and new, smaller form factors.
In-Stat/MDR also reports the following highlights for the past year:
In terms of unit shipments, palmOne still led in 2003, with nearly twice the market share of Hewlett-Packard (HP), its closest rival.
In 2003, there were still three distinct tiers of products: low-end, middle-range and high-end devices, with most companies offering devices with a range of functionality and prices.
A range of multimedia features continued to receive more attention from consumers and manufacturers.
"The coming year will see advances in both software and components, with lower unit prices, improved operating systems, and increased attention to multimedia and wireless functionality driving growth," said McCurley. "In addition, component and device manufacturers are stressing improved device usability as one of the main strategies to grow the market."