Traditional PDA Sales Slide, Cellular PDAs Soar

By Amy Gilroy On Sep 4 2006 - 6:00am

Framingham, Mass. — Worldwide shipments of traditional PDAs continued their downward slide for the 10th consecutive quarter during the April-June period, according to market research company IDC.

Second-quarter shipments fell 26.3 percent to 1.4 million units compared to the year-ago period and slid 21.4 percent in the first half to 2.9 million units.

IDC defines PDAs as non-connected handhelds that do not include cellular capability.

“Looking ahead, we expect additional quarters of decline and a flattening out of shipment activity before a return to growth,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said. “In order to do that, vendors must discover more market segments, relevant applications, and improved usability beyond personal information management.” The company said that features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS have helped to slow the rate of decline.

In fact, at least one PDA maker plans later this year to offer U.S. consumers a GPS-equipped PDA that doubles as a portable navigation system delivering turn-by-turn driving instructions and featuring a pedestrian mode.

Sales in the PDA category are a bit brighter if models with data-centric cellular capability are included in the mix, such as the Danger Sidekick, said Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner. The category, which excludes smart phones that are phone-centric, grew 12.3 percent over the past year in the U.S., with vendor shipments reaching 1.577 million units.

Cellular PDAs are a healthy growth segment, said Gartner principal analyst Todd Kort. Two years ago they represented only a third of the total PDA market. They now represent 52 percent and are growing in share at a rate of 5 to 9 percentage points a year.

Kort does not believe that unconnected, non-cellular PDAs will ever see a resurgence. “Low-end PDAs won't go away completely, but I don't see them ever making a comeback. I see the market slowly dwindling.”

Preliminary 2Q06 US PDA Vendor Shipment Estimates
(In units)
2006 Shipments2006 Market Share %2005 Shipments2005 Market Share %Y/Y % Growth1Q06 Shipments1Q06 Market Share %Q/Q % Growth
Research in Motion553,00035.1570,00040.6-3.0639,00043.5-13.5
Totals do not include smartphones such as Treo 700w and BlackBerry 71xx, but include cellular PDAs such as iPAQ 69xx, Nokia E61
Gartners Dataquest (July 2006) ©TWICE 2006

Alert to All Users of the Disqus commenting system:

Because of a recent global security issue, the Disqus website recommends that all users change their Disqus passwords. Heres a URL about the issue:








Enjoy the greatest pictures taken from famous shows and events this year.

Current Issue


This TWICE webinar,  hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.