Palm Online Sales Up but Supply Problems Continue

According to, online sales of Palm-OS-based PDAs rose dramatically during the back-to-school buying season. From Aug. 13 through Sept. 16, sales increased 33.9% over the previous five-week period. During the same period, sales of PocketPC-based handhelds dropped 15.5%.

Despite reporting record sales last quarter, Palm Inc.has been severely affected by the shortages of electronic parts that have hobbled many consumer electronics companies this year. According to the Associated Press, some analysts have estimated Palm could have sold as many as 40% more handhelds if components had been available.

Some of Palm's competitors have gained while Palm struggled. The Visor doesn't use flash ROMs, which means it is more difficult to upgrade the OS, but this makes Visors much less affected by the parts shortages, as flash ROMs are in very tight supply. However, Handspring doesn't escape completely unscathed. The short supply of memory chips has made many Springboard modules expensive and delayed the creation of others.

The iPAQ has been hit especially hard. COMPAQ has struggled to produce its handheld since its inception, due largely to a shortage of LCD screens.

Organizers that use neither the Palm OS or PocketPC had a collective surge of 60.3% during the back-to-school buying season.

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