By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Handheld computer shipments declined 2 percent in the United States and 9.5 percent worldwide during the third quarter, with the Pocket PC camp showing the steepest drop in sales for the quarter, according to Gartner Dataquest.
The Palm OS remained in the lead with 52 percent of the worldwide market, down slightly from 55 percent held in the second quarter, but Pocket PCs' share fell to 18 percent, down from 30 percent in the second quarter, Dataquest said.
There are several reasons for the decline in worldwide PDA shipments in the third quarter, according to Dataquest principal analyst Todd Kort.
"I would have expected more of a decline if it was the economy alone, so there are some factors boosting the market up, such as an increase in the proprietary system-based handhelds, like Casio's PocketViewers, which are priced at less than $150," he said. "It fits in with the declining economic situation because people are buying more low-end models."
Kort added that the very high-end handhelds, notably, Pocket PCs, suffered the largest decline this quarter, although they had been steadily gaining this year. Other factors may have contributed to the decline in Pocket PC sales, including the fact that many consumers knew the 2002 upgrade was due in the fourth quarter and elected to wait on purchasing products.
The latest Dataquest report said handheld shipments in the third quarter totaled 2.54 million units, worldwide, down from 2.81 million units in the second quarter. In the United States, total third-quarter handheld shipments represented 1.25 million units, down slightly from 1.27 million in the second quarter.
Handspring and Casio gained share in the third quarter, with Handspring's worldwide share increasing to 13.9 percent, from 10.7 percent in the second quarter. Casio's shipments increased to 5.6 percent, from 3.3 percent. Palm's share fell slightly to 29.7 percent, from 31.7 percent; Compaq's share dropped to 7.3 percent from 16 percent; and Hewlett-Packard's share fell to 5.3 percent from 6.9 percent in the second quarter, Dataquest said.
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