Handheld Shipments Fell 18% in 2003

The latest industry figures from IDC say the worldwide market for handheld devices grew slightly in the fourth quarter of 2003, largely due to strong holiday sales by palmOne and Hewlett-Packard. According to IDCs Worldwide Handheld QView, device shipments continued to show tepid growth with a rise of 3.2% year-on-year in 4Q03 and a sequential increase of 52.7% to 3.4 million units.

Among the top vendors, Hewlett-Packard experienced 101.5% year-over-year growth on the strength of a particularly large and diverse portfolio. The top 4 vendors maintained their market positions during the fourth quarter, but Toshiba was knocked out by Medion's ascension into the number 5 spot.

For the full year, the total handheld market decreased to 10.4 million units; a drop of 17.9% from the previous year's shipments of 12.6 million units. IDC believes that this full-year decline matches the changing role of the handheld device in a mobile-telephony energized world.

"With a growing number of vendors and products that combine both personal information management (PIM) capability and telephony, consumers are moving away from devices that offer only PIM capability. HP and palmOne enjoyed particular success during the holiday buying season by offering handheld devices with features beyond PIM that cannot be found in a mobile phone," said David Linsalata, analyst in IDC's Mobile Devices program. "Going forward, handheld device vendors must continue to differentiate and expand into hot product categories, such as media players and digital cameras, to renew growth in their market."

Vendor Highlights:

  • palmOne On the strength of the newly released Zire 21, Tungsten E, and Tungsten T3 handhelds, palmOne posted sequential growth of 56.7% and a corresponding increase in market share from 37.5% to 38.5%. However, given palmOne's history of producing simple yet powerful devices, a holiday increase in shipments is to be expected.
  • Hewlett Packard Although HP's market share declined from 25.9% in the previous quarter to 25.1% in 4Q03 due to a significantly larger market, HP continued its momentum from the previous quarter and grew its shipments by 101.5% year-over-year. By building upon a range of products introduced during the summer that covers all price points, HP found itself well-positioned to continue its growth through the end of the calendar year.
  • Sony Strong holiday sales in the U.S. helped Sony to sequential growth of 99.8% for the quarter. But Sony was caught between product cycles and experienced weak growth in other regions, bringing its year-over-year shipments down by 2.8%.
  • Dell The fourth quarter saw the introduction of Dell's new Axim X3 line of devices, pushing Dell up 21% sequentially and 167.4% year-over-year. With both products being pushed in tandem throughout the world, Dell looks to get back on the growth track it experienced with the introduction of its Axim X5 devices last year.

Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide Handheld Device Shipments and Market Share, 2003 (Preliminary)

Rank Vendor 2003 Shipments 2003 Market Share
1 palmOne 3,950,125 38.1%
2 Hewlett-Packard 2,280,152 22.0%
3 Sony 1,390,078 13.4%
4 Dell 610,811 5.9%
5 Toshiba 306,687 3.0%
Other 1,824,970 17.6%
Total 10,362,823 100.0%

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They could've expanded...

DevPOV @ 1/28/2004 12:29:37 PM #
With "Other" at nearly 18%, it seems that they could've expanded on that category.

PPC and Palms seems very close. But with the OTHER, it's rather difficult to tell for sure.

RE: They could've expanded...
Konstantin @ 1/28/2004 3:41:58 PM #
Yeah, 'other' is pretty broad category. It would be nice to know what OSes % the 'other' category holds.

RE: They could've expanded...
Verteron @ 1/28/2004 5:01:17 PM #
I guess Handspring doesn't have a huge market share any more - and presumably Treos would be counted as Smartphones rather than PDAs.

I can't imagine that Tapwave, AlphaSmart, Garmin are selling huge numbers of devices either. Probably total around 5% at most.

So yeah, Palm and PPC must be pretty close now.

Handspring Visor Neo --> Sony CLIE PEG-T665C --> palmOne Tungsten T2

RE: They could've expanded...
G M Fude @ 1/29/2004 3:15:07 AM #
Other would include stuff like Psion, woudn't it? Those are very popular in the UK.

- Steve Smith
If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we will solve them.
RE: They could've expanded...
rsc1000 @ 1/29/2004 3:12:51 PM #
I think 'other' would also include ppc and palm os devices not listed here - such as the garmin ique for example - becuase their share is too small. As for handspring : they are now counted as palmOne now. However I'm guessing that the numbers here don't count smartphones such as the treo 600. does anybody know if this is for sure?

RE: They could've expanded...
a_nonamiss @ 1/30/2004 1:54:25 PM #
The "Other" category does not include Handspring, as they were purchased by PalmOne. Handspring's market share was merged into Palm's, so depending on how you look at it, Palm really took in on the chin last year. If they didn't count Handspring's market share (which was around 3-4% the in 2002, as I recall) they would be worse off then they appear to be already.


Palm Pilot 1000 > Palm Pilot Professional > Palm III > Palm M100 > Sony Cli PEG-T415 > Palm T|T3

Tungsten E docking charger

mike500 @ 1/28/2004 1:25:29 PM #
Since this article is a general PDA one I take the liberty of raising another issue.
Does anyone know if there exists a docking charger for the Tungsten E? Even though there is no universal port, they can still make a kind of cradle that will hook up the USB and charger by just dropping it in--just like a laptop docking station. The purpose of the cradle is, after all, the charging and hotsyncing so why do away with a cradle just because there is no universal port?
If there isn't one yet, someone ought to make one :)

Viva hp

mikecane @ 1/29/2004 11:18:56 AM #
"By building upon a range of products introduced during the summer that covers all price points, HP found itself well-positioned to continue its growth through the end of the calendar year."

-- that hp 41xx (BT/WiFi) is what palmOne should have had... with a HVGA screen, of course.

Oh, and better stylus!



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