Worldwide PDA Shipments Reach Record Level in 2005

Worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments totaled a record 14.9 million units in 2005, a 19 percent increase from 2004, according to Gartner, Inc. The 2005 results topped the previous record of 13.2 million PDAs shipped worldwide in 2001.

Research In Motion (RIM) became the No. 1 PDA vendor based on worldwide shipments in 2005 (see first chart) as it accounted for 21.4 percent of total shipments. Its shipments in 2005 increased 47 percent from 2004. These results do not include an estimated 858,000 BlackBerry smartphones shipped in 2005, which Gartner classifies separately because of their voice-centric design.

"RIM does not appear to be losing much momentum despite its legal problems and the threat of an injunction," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "Generally, BlackBerry users are staying put because of the high cost of switching, lack of suitable alternative devices, and the low probability of BlackBerry service being shut down."

Worldwide: Preliminary PDA Vendor Shipment Estimates, 2005 (Units)

                                    2005                2004    2004-
                                    Market              Market  2005
                          2005      Share     2004      Share   Growth
Company                 Shipments    (%)    Shipments    (%)     (%)
Research In Motion      3,193,000    21.4   2,178,000    17.4    46.6
Palm                    2,773,025    18.6   3,726,172    29.8   -25.6
Hewlett-Packard         2,264,666    15.2   2,668,627    21.3   -15.1
Nokia                   1,010,000     6.8     250,000     2.0   304.0
T-Mobile                  812,600     5.5     191,400     1.5   324.6
Others                  4,839,701    32.5   3,499,314    28.0    38.3
Total                  14,892,992   100.0  12,513,513   100.0    19.0

Notes: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 650 and
BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 65xx and
BlackBerry 8700.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (February 2006)

Palm shipped 2.77 million PDAs in 2005, down 25 percent from 2004 shipments. These results exclude Palm's Treo smartphone shipments of 1.95 million units in 2005.

Palm regained the PDA market lead in the fourth quarter of 2005 with 1.04 million units shipped, reflecting the traditionally strong consumer PDA sales associated with the holiday season. "Consumer sales in the fourth quarter enabled Palm to surpass RIM and HP, but we expect RIM will recapture the lead in the first quarter of 2006 as consumer PDA purchases subside," Mr. Kort said. "Palm's PDA sales are being cannibalized by its Treo smartphones, which are expected to surpass Palm's PDA shipments in 2006."

Worldwide: Preliminary PDA Vendor Shipment Estimates, 4Q05 (Units)

                                     4Q05               4Q04    4Q04-
                                     Market             Market  4Q05
                            4Q05     Share     4Q04     Share   Growth
Company                  Shipments    (%)   Shipments    (%)     (%)
Palm                     1,037,680    23.5  1,226,525    29.9   -15.4
Research In Motion         780,000    17.7    698.000    17.0    11.7
Hewlett-Packard            660,463    15.0    869,000    21.1   -24.0
T-Mobile                   305,000     6.9     96,000     2.3   217.7
Mio Technology             220,214     5.0     83,645     2.0   163.3
Others                   1,405,569    31.9  1,135,788    27.6    23.8
Total                    4,408,926   100.0  4,108,958   100.0     7.3

Notes: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 650 and
BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 65xx and
BlackBerry 8700.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (February 2006)

Microsoft Windows CE was the No. 1 PDA operating system (OS) in 2005 as 7.05 million PDAs were loaded with the OS, up 33 percent from 2004 shipments of 5.28 million units. Palm OS PDA shipments declined 34 percent to 2.96 million units in 2005.

Gartner defines a PDA as a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open market operating system supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Dataquest Alert: Record 14.9 Million PDAs Shipped in 2005, Up 19 Percent Over 2004."

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Interesting Numbers...

i2oadi2unnei2 @ 2/14/2006 9:10:01 PM # Q

...|3eep |3eep!!...

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I don't get it

hoodoo @ 2/14/2006 9:40:05 PM # Q
Most RIM units are included, but Treos aren't? huh? I believe that *every single* RIM unit has voice capability, so what would be the criteria for including some but excluding others? I suppose the slightly more phone-like keyboard on the 7100?

Every person I know *does not* make the distinction between Blackberries...they are phone and email devices, regardless if it's smart or not, that's what they do,and RIM has bagged a client paying monthly fees, that's all that matters to RIM/phone company.

So...thanks to the TREO, Palm shipped a total of 4.7 million units and RIM shipped a total of about 4.0 million units.

Therefore if Palm ships a Treo (lowrider?) with numberpad rather than keyboard, and it's a hit, they will increase their numbers on the PDA side...the logic escapes me.

RE: I don't get it
souterj @ 2/15/2006 12:36:55 AM # Q
Funny how Gartner have such a respected name in the industry for producing unbiased information that influences the decisions of thousands of organisations - yet they manage to confuse and distort the PDA / SmartPhone / Communicator market out of all proportion through silly inconsistencies *AGAIN* !


RE: I don't get it
AdamaDBrown @ 2/15/2006 4:21:45 AM # Q
Yes, the Blackberries all have voice, but you'd understand if you read the footnotes. Gartner's definition of a handheld is that it's under 500 grams, designed to be used with both hands, and is data-centric. If it's primarily voice oriented, and designed to be used with one hand, then it's a smartphone. So the Treos and the BB 7100 are smartphones, as are all the MS Smartphones and some of Nokia's better offerings. Meanwhile, the less sleek Blackberries, most of the PocketPC phones, and things like the Tungsten W (if it were still around) get classified as data devices. See?

Realistically, while it's a little arbitrary, it's not a bad decision. There is a significant difference in usage profiles between a phone device and a converged data device, enough to justify having the distinction. Just try holding one of those larger Blackberries up to your head.

RE: I don't get it
Timothy Rapson @ 2/15/2006 8:07:15 AM # Q
Thanks Adamabrown.

Wow, I have been at this PDA/phone/pocket computer hobby for years and years (since before I bought that Atari Portfolio to be frank and to give away my age), but have never seen such a concise defining comment on the categorizations.

At least I can now see some sense in how at least Gartner does it.......Now, about the other reports that have a propensity to focus in on only Brick and Morter retail sales....but that's another quibble.

Thanks Adamabrown.

RE: I don't get it
Simony @ 2/16/2006 11:57:44 PM # Q
Sic transit gloria.

HP's numbers continue to decline. This waisting away of HP's business is entirely self-inflicted - curtesy of Mr Hurd's cost-cutting campaign.

In a way, Mr Hurd is not really to blame. He's doing what the Board wants. And the Board is reacting to the petulant demands of certain Wall Street analysts.

The analysts are looking for anything which will cause a lift in next quarter's numbers. From an analyst's perspective (siting in his/her plush office in Manhattan), slashing costs is a quick fix. The analyst doesn't need to deal with the enormous human cost, in terms of letting good people go. As long as next quarter's numbers are better, that's all the analyst cares about - .

This is no way to run a railway.

You see, the easiest target in cost-cutting is the R&D and marketing budget. But those activities are the life blood of a viable business. As night follows day, cutting such costs inevitably affects sales - not in the next month or two, but in within 6 to 12 months sales always fall away.

That's when the usual vicious cycle kicks in. As sales decline, there are more demands for cost-cutting, which further erodes sales, followed by more cost-cutting, further loss of sales, etc, etc. Before you know it the franchise is destroyed.

Stay tuned people. Unless drastic action is taken to stop the rot at HP, month-by-month and quarter-by-quarter it's sales of handheld computers will fall away.

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Gartner is Wrong

Timothy Rapson @ 2/14/2006 9:45:56 PM # Q
So sorry Gartner, 3 million Blackberry sales does not mean PDA sales are up. RIMs are not PDAs. They don't have memory slots, decent software libraries, or touch screens. They are push-messaging pagers.

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pascanu @ 2/15/2006 2:12:45 AM # Q
Nokia PDA? I thought Nokia makes phones, smart-phones, dumb-phones, game-phones, whatever-phones, but all are PHONES.

Handspring Visor -> m505 -> Zire71 -> Zire72 -> Treo650
RE: Nokia???
cervezas @ 2/15/2006 2:26:57 AM # Q
Where've you been, dude?,1522,,00.html?orig=/770

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog

RE: Nokia???
random_name @ 2/15/2006 7:23:36 AM # Q
But did they really sell a million of those?

RE: Nokia???
cervezas @ 2/15/2006 9:18:15 AM # Q
They're presumably counting the 9xxx series devices (the ones with the long clamshell design and large keyboard) as PDAs. Those sell in Europe comparably to the way the Treo sells here in the US.

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing
Software Everywhere blog
RE: Nokia???
Foo Fighter @ 2/15/2006 9:23:44 AM # Q
It's the 9100/9300 PDA phone that is driving those numbers, not the 770. Nokia has not released sales numbers for the 770, yet, other than making vague claims that sales are so good they've had to ramp up production. Unfortunately that is most likely a fib, considering they aren't giving numbers to back that up, and made similar claims during the launch of NGage phones. And we all know how that story ended.

Reply to this comment

Add smartphones, and it's 18 million or more.

AdamaDBrown @ 2/15/2006 4:28:16 AM # Q
Add in 2 million Treos, somewhere around 750k to 1m WM Smartphones, and the Nokia/SonyE models worthy of making the cut, and we're talking more like 18 million sales in the handheld market, maybe more. Not bad for devices that were supposed to have been dead three years ago.

RE: Add smartphones, and it's 18 million or more.
mtt @ 2/15/2006 3:47:12 PM # Q
This is the important thing... we hear about PDAs dying, yet more and more people are buying and using devices with PDA capabilities. If you use a definition of a PDA as a Personal Digital Assistant, a device that includes Personal Information Management, messaging, and the ability to run additional programs, many cellphones also make the cut. Two conclusions I make: If it is marketed well there should be a strong demand for a good universal OS (linux Axxess Palm?) to run on varying types of PDAs, and there should be plenty of market demand to develop new PDAs.

How about larger tablet styles, closer to a paperback book size? How about clamshell phones with a touchpad area above the keypad to allow graffiti type input using your thumb? (a favorite idea of mine). How about candybar shaped phones, with a keyboard to pull out of the side that would flip the display to landscape mode?

18 million smartphones and PDAs, come on and show us some new stuff!

Handspring Visor, Palm V, Treo 180, Treo 90, Treo 600, Treo 650...

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No Canalys numbers

Surur @ 2/15/2006 4:57:46 AM # Q

Canalys is almost two weeks late in publishing their numbers. They are usually a good counterpoint to the confusing Garnet stats.


They said I only argued for the sake of arguing, but after an hour I convinced them they were wrong...

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