Comments on: PDA Market Growth Flat in 2003

According to preliminary figures from Gartner, worldwide PDA shipments declined of 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2003. This was the eighth consecutive quarter the handheld market experienced a year-over-year decline in shipments.
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PalmOS Marketshare

sumisu @ 11/18/2003 9:39:23 PM #
With Palm's marketshare dropping 2% and Sony's going up 3% what does that mean for PalmOS Marketshare? It looks like the PDA leaders are thinning. It won't be long before Palm, Sony and HP are the only ones in the running (Unless Dell can do better).

RE: PalmOS Marketshare
pdouglas12 @ 11/18/2003 10:19:34 PM #
The chart is confusing, because 03 is first, but it looks to me like the Palm market share went UP 2%. Of course, if they'd get the SD Wi-Fi to work with the Palm, it would go up more.

RE: PalmOS Marketshare
feranick @ 11/18/2003 11:58:35 PM #
As far as I can see it, the only losing market is Sony (from 13% to 10%). Palm is growing slowly (from 32.1% to 34.2%). What appears clearly is that PocketPC devices are growing more significantly (HP from 11.6% to 23.1%, Dell 5.5$). Tough competition...

HP is really doing well...Ouch...

TDS Computer @ 11/19/2003 12:19:21 AM #
Wow... HP is really kicking some tail! I guess those low-end 1910 Ipaqs really flew off the shelves... I suspect that the numbers will be different once the numbers are in for the Tungsten E sales. I think those are really selling quite nice. My distributor seems to have several hundred backordered at all times! Maybe that will be the "Ipaq Killer"

I own an Ipaq 2215 in addition to my Tungsten C - But I only use my Ipaq as an MP3 player! Anything to do with business is done on my Palm...

Visit us at

RE: HP is really doing well...Ouch...
G Martin @ 11/19/2003 12:40:13 AM #
HP makes really nice PDA hardware. They get an excellent amount of screen real estate compared to the overall size and weight of the device. The 2215 manages to get dual expansion slots and a removable battery into a relatively small form factor, and the new 4000 series have built-in WiFi, also in a small form factor. There are currently no Palm OS devices that achieve these things.

If they licensed Palm OS, they could own the handheld market.


RE: HP is really doing well...Ouch...
RhinoSteve @ 11/19/2003 2:15:50 AM #
Remember that HP 98.5% increase in Market share may be from the HP / Compaq merger. They killed the Jornada, and they now sell the "HP iPaq." In my opinion the numbers could be viewed as convoluting old Joranda share and iPaq shares.

But yea, an Palm OS iPaq would definately be good for their business if they have a bravada and courage to deal with Microsoft.

RE: HP is really doing well...Ouch...
Foo Fighter @ 11/19/2003 10:31:14 AM #
No, RhinoSteve, HP's high share is not the combined Jornada and iPaq sales. This is for Q3 2003? How many Jornadas have you seen sitting on store shelves? They have been out of circulation for almost 2 years now. Like it or not, HP is growing rapidly, and it's not hard to see why. Hell, the iPaq product line is stronger and more compelling than Sony's novelty PDAs. It's not hard to see why Sony is slipping away.

I'm happy to see Pocket PC grow - it's good for competition.

My blog:

RE: HP is really doing well...Ouch...
mikecane @ 11/19/2003 5:23:06 PM #
>>>Hell, the iPaq product line is stronger and more compelling than Sony's novelty PDAs.

Once again Your Fooness is behind the curve.

If you'd seen a Toshiba e8xx in VGA mode (courtesy of Deez's ResFix hack), you'd look at the hps in the same way PPCers have looked at Palms: As toys!

Having seen VGA, QVGA just looks so ... amateurish!

The herd is being culled

Hippocrates @ 11/19/2003 4:25:27 AM #
The only game in town = Palm, HP, Sony, Dell, RIM, Toshiba.
- Palm, still losing money, choking down its absorption of the dreamers at Handspring.
- HP, much of its increase is due to sales of Compaq-designed models.
- Sony, many overpriced, bulky models, stuck with Memory Stick.
- Dell, giving away hardware to gain marketshare.
- RIM, could go under at any time if they lose a patent lawsuit.
Toshiba, losing marketshare and getting cold feet over its PDA plans.

R.I.P.: Compaq, Casio, HandEra, Handspring.

Stillborn: Fossil + several other supposed PalmOS. licencees.

Self-destructing: Treo 600 (quality control problems like all of Handspring's other phones).

Schizophrenic: Samsung.

Pathetic OS (still): PPC

Symbian and Microsoft smartphones are chopping off more pieces of the pie every day. Meanwhile the Treo 600 launch has been another embarassing mess. Where is the PalmOS Sony smartphone that is going to save the Palm economy? Is anyone going to buy PalmOS 6 devices when most people are happy with a basic Zire, Vx or even a IIIx?

The PDA era is over. 1996 - 2003. It was a good run while it lasted, but these slow-to-evolve dinosaurs are about to be replaced by quick-moving cellphones overnight. Imagine a Sony Ericsson P900 with a videophone, Treo 600 keyboard, full web browsing, email, contacts and multitasking. No need to imagine it. It will be here in 2004. Meanwhile Palm will start selling $50 2 MB Zires in Walmart. And then wonder why all their sales dried up by the end of 2004.

RE: The herd is being culled
mikecane @ 11/19/2003 9:23:43 AM #
I thought *you* had been culled.

RE: The herd is being culled
hoodoo @ 11/19/2003 9:30:23 AM #
Mr. Hippocrates is *not* Ska, according to him. Look! He even says that the PPC OS sucks!

Anyways, why wouldn't POS or PPC smartphones (Treo 600/300) be included, but RIM's units are included, I assume even the ones with the phones built in?

Wasn't this news already posted in the last week or two?

RE: The herd is being culled
cataphract @ 11/19/2003 9:50:08 AM #
>> The only game in town = Palm, HP, Sony, Dell, RIM, Toshiba.

This is a significant misunderstanding on how PPC manufacturing operates, one needs to consider ODM instead of end market branding. Compal device for eg. are the same as in Casio and now Yakuma in europe. Same with mitac and Asus.

>> R.I.P.: Casio

Casio is still selling PPC in Japan, retreating from worldwide market.

at any rate, it seems to me from the number, POS is clearly not growing, while PPC is. (Yes there are a lot of rebranding on 'other' category that falls below the radar)

RE: The herd is being culled
a3 @ 11/19/2003 10:14:53 AM #
Well Hipocrates I think I am going to rely blindly on your comment about the Treo 600 and not on PC Magazine's 20th Annual Award for Technical Excellence...

And regarding the Zire, I believe 1 million+ units sold leave your words in a dark room that I may never open...

Former Tapwave's Helix fan, now a T|T3 fan.

RE: The herd is being culled
Puppy @ 11/19/2003 5:10:06 PM #
Regardless of how they're selling, you still can't replace a Palm with a cell phone. Sure there are combo phones, but they're over priced, and are never as good at being phones or PDAs as stand alone units. From the looks of things, it'll be years, if ever before a cell phone can truly replace a stand alone PDA.

RE: The herd is being culled
Hippocrates @ 11/20/2003 1:12:42 AM #
Well Hipocrates I think I am going to rely blindly on your comment about the Treo 600 and not on PC Magazine's 20th Annual Award for Technical Excellence...

And regarding the Zire, I believe 1 million+ units sold leave your words in a dark room that I may never open...

Do you really think those media awards mean anything? Seriously. Handspring's previous phones were adventurous-but-nerdy designs that were hobbled by some fundamental flaws (like weakness of the flip part of the phone) and a pathetic absence of quality control. The Treo 600 is a very good design, but again it's hobbled by poor quality control by Handspring's manufacturer. Handspring also cut corners on the radio modules, omitted the Bluetooth chip, used a low res screen and included an old school external antenna. The product roll out has been totally bungled. The problem is the Treo 600 couldn't afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. An extra $50 spent improving the parts selection and using a better manufacturer would have helped, but even less people would be able to afford the Treo 600. Any way you slice it, Palm is screwed.

1,000,000 sales of hardware that's about as advanced as a five year old Palm III means very little. How many of these were impulse buys now stuck in the back of a drawer? Or how many were given away as part of another offer? It's probably too late for commodity sales to float the "Palm Economy"

RE: The herd is being culled
Hippocrates @ 11/20/2003 11:16:42 PM #
I thought *you* had been culled.

Michelle, Beyotch - you've been owned. Get over it and go back to the comfort of your mother's bosom.

RE: The herd is being culled
a3 @ 11/21/2003 12:02:56 PM #
I think you did not get my point coreectly. I understand your position. It seems logical and objective but, no offense, it is YOUR position (a complete stranger in a Palm web forum praising PPC) versus PC magazine's technical dept.

Regarding Zire: Well since you seem so biased I don't think that my comments will make any difference. I'll just say that after I bought my Palm Pilot Professional, I bought a III and then the Clie T615c and now I want the T|T3 and/or the Treo 600. A lot of people are starting out with a Zire or Zire 21 (more than a million are).

Former Tapwave's Helix fan, now a T|T3 fan.

RE: The herd is being culled
mikecane @ 11/22/2003 10:56:51 AM #
>>>Yes, PDAs can be an incredibly useful tool, but for the average Joe, it just isn't realistic to lug them around everywhere.

Especially if the average Joe is as fat as you. It's a wonder you can get *anything* in your pockets.

RE: The herd is being culled
Hippocrates @ 11/22/2003 1:03:38 PM #
Another brilliant post from copyrighted Palminfocenter analyst and frequent poster, Michelle Cane. (Has your post count here passed 2000 yet, Michelle? Those stats would be quite revealing.)

Do you have something against obese people, Michelle? Did something happen to you when you were a child? Were the other kids mean to you? It's always good to talk about your problems. Remember, we'll always be here for you.

This post is copyrighted by Hippocrates©, LLC.
© 2003

Palm should license to everyone!

batmon @ 11/19/2003 4:04:50 PM #
Man... why Palm has to be so tough on their licensing and loosing $$ at same time? Can't they see APPLE was doing the same thing and then close the OEM all together at the end? Palm should learn from MS, just give out their licenses to all HW manufactures like there is no tomorrow!! I know that will be bad for the quality control,... but who cares! We are not corporate. We don't wanna be like in the office and everyone has the same DELL PC. This is good for IT to manage these systems, but we are individuals! We wanna be unique! If someone has m515 then I wanna get something different, something that looks cooler! Do you think regular consumer cares about the function that much? Have you ever seen a group of ppl on the street happy about they are having the same phone and the same module? No! ppl only interesting in cool looking phone that they never seen it before. Just like Palm, you won't attract babes by having the same Palm III like million others. On the other hand, if you color paint it or have different case, then it will! Just throw us 200 or 300 different Palm devices at same time and then we will decide what we like. I don't want to have just ONE low-end module and ONE high-end module Plam device to choose from.

RE: Palm should license to everyone!
mikecane @ 11/19/2003 5:22:35 PM #
Is the above post satire?

RE: Palm should license to everyone!
feranick @ 11/19/2003 6:22:47 PM #

1) I care about quality control.
2) a PDA is something that is supposed to be useful for the functions is able to perform, not for the way it looks.

RE: Palm should license to everyone! NOT.
Hippocrates @ 11/20/2003 1:55:22 AM #
Palm would make about $50 million a year licencing the OS to all comers. As a company who's cap used to be what, a few BILLION, they're looking for a bigger piece of the pie.

RE: Palm should license to everyone!
orb2069 @ 11/20/2003 11:05:42 AM #
...One minor problem.

MS can afford to licence to everyone, because they don't have to care if PPC makes them any money - Heck, it's been a giant sinkhole for cash since they launched it. Unfortunately, Palm dosen't have that luxury, so they have to pick and choose.

RE: Palm should license to everyone!
TASKA @ 11/20/2003 11:21:34 AM #
Speaking of cash burning, Palm inc. and Handspring combined have gone through approximately $1 Billion worth of IPO cash.
Wow - A whole billion!
orb2069 @ 11/20/2003 3:44:00 PM #
...Which is probably less than MS has spent on PDA-related advertising this year.

Doubt me? Take a trip down to the news-stand and count.

RE: Palm should license to everyone! Don't be silly.
Hippocrates @ 11/20/2003 11:35:31 PM #
Speaking of cash burning, Palm inc. and Handspring combined have gone through approximately $1 Billion worth of IPO cash.

Ska (or should I call you Phil?), the money burnt by Palm was just paper millions anyway. Those of us who cashed in on Silicon Valley in Go-Go 90s remember how little money came to be valued when it wasn't earned.

RE: Palm should license to everyone!
batmon @ 11/26/2003 5:32:35 PM #
I don't know much about IPO or CAP or all that, but I thought market share counts everything.

APPLE was more popular then IBM PC. Look at what IBM did to make everyone using PC. I think Linux is following the same path.

IBM falled because they were PC HW company and allow MS to take over the world. The advantage for Palm is that they can throw licenses out to all HW comapnies. They might loose the HW market share but they will win on their PalmOS~~

Good News Also...

hotpaw4 @ 11/19/2003 6:40:55 PM #
The good news is that PDA unit sales have stopped declining, at least for the last quarter (-0.2% is probably within the statistical noise). The interesting news is that HP did so much better than Sony, who was the biggest market share winner the previous year. Both companies seem capable of good product design. Sony is also capable of some very integrated manufacturing, so this should be an interesting contest to watch over the next year, as PalmOS 6 rolls out and matures.

As for the hype over smartphones taking over the PDA market, sure, they sell lots of fancy cell phones; but how may people have you actually seen using their phone for PDA PIM functions other than looking-up phone numbers? Almost all mid-to-high-end cell phones sold over the past couple years have a calender/datebook application, but I've never seen anybody use that capability.

A little context...

Michael Mace @ 11/19/2003 7:55:47 PM #
We're in a quiet period right now because of our spinout from Palm, so there's not much I can say about how the business is doing. But maybe I can give a little bit of context about how to read these numbers.

When people go to buy a mobile device, many of them consider both a handheld and a smartphone. You can find some of those discussions on this website. There aren't really two markets -- people decide they need mobile info, and then they decide whether to get it in a combination phone like a Treo or i500, or something standalone like a Clie or Tungsten or TapWave.

There's not really a separate market for "PDAs," it's just a part of the overall market for mobile information.

By isolating just "PDAs," you can get a really misleading view of the market. Every time we sell a Treo or Kyocera or Samsung or GSL Smartphone, these numbers register it as a *shrinkage* of the market. Is the market really going up or down? You can't tell, because smartphone sales numbers are not tracked in this survey.

What's more, if one platform sells more smartphones than another, it will appear to be losing share. To put it bluntly, the better the Treo 600 and i500 and 7135 sell, the more this sort of report will show a *decline* in the Palm OS business.

So a report on "PDA" sales is interesting and worth reading, but don't draw too many conclusions, either good or bad, because you're not seeing the whole picture.

CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: A little context...
TASKA @ 11/19/2003 9:39:15 PM #
How many units are Palm OS smartphone? treo 600 was reported to ship around 48K.

AFAIK, Nokia symbian 'smartphone' dwarf the sales of any other smartphone,while Microsoft smartphones already eclipsing every Palm OS phones combined.

Also to note, just like previous quarters since the beginning of the stat, smartphone has never been counted, why demand a count now? Or am I wrong with this?

RE: A little context...
mikecane @ 11/20/2003 9:44:45 AM #
>>>In the month since the Treo 600 was released, it's sold less than 10,000 copies. Extrapolate that over the year and it's underwhelming.

First we had Reagan's Voodoo Economics.

Now we get ska/hippo's Voodoo Forecasting.

orb2069 @ 11/20/2003 11:07:11 AM #
Garner Mediaquest, a 'thinktank' that has been cheerleading for Microsoft since Day One, starts producing a breakdown of the 'PDA' market that steadfastly refuses to include(1) PDA/Celphone combo units, just when MS is getting it's ass handed back from several disasterous celphone releases. If the MS 'Smartphone' division ever gets it's act together, expect Gartner to start including Celphones in their count.

(1)- Except for RIM's products - Which, of course, are doing worse than Microsoft.

Sometimes what people don't say is more important than what they do.

RE: A little context...
TASKA @ 11/20/2003 12:16:02 PM #
Palm inc. had no problem with gartner number before when it was saying 70%+ Palm OS. They even religiously put out press release each quarters citing gartner marketshare.

But now that gartner number puts Palm marketshare below 50%, all of a sudden Gartner is microsoft cheerleader and the number is all wrong. If Gartner has motive, Palm sure does have motive too trying to obfuscate the number.

And dont' forget, it is also Garnter number that Palmone is using to project their own marketshare, so somebody inside Palm believes those sets of number too.

RE: A little context...
orb2069 @ 11/20/2003 3:47:31 PM #
But now that gartner number puts Palm marketshare below 50%, all of a sudden Gartner is microsoft cheerleader

No, actually, people started calling them MS cheerleaders when MS' PDA marketshare was embarassingly small, but Gartner still felt it necessary to layer every press release with things like '...But Microsoft is still the one to watch!'

Whenever they had something good to say about the PDA market, they make a point of lumping MS and Palm together, like:

Dataquest expects that handheld computers based on 3Com's PalmOS and Microsoft's Windows CE will gain market share at the expense of proprietary offerings. PalmOS and Microsoft's Windows CE accounted for 67 percent of handheld shipments in 1998. In 2003, the two platforms are forecast to account for 92 percent of the market

Compare these two pieces, written within a month of each other, and in 2001 (When Palm was still the one to beat:)

'Handspring faces Microsoft in the Corporate PDA market:'

'Microsoft aims to dominate with PocketPC 2002'

Are you really trying to tell me you can't see the bias here?

RE: A little context...
lamp @ 11/21/2003 4:48:36 PM #
FACT: Palm has sold less than 10,000 Treo 600s in over a month.
FACT: Once the initial flurry of sales is over in January, they'll probably settle in to selling 5000 - 8000 units per month.
FACT: Even adding these in doesn't make the platform numbers much better.

Regarding the first FACT, can you cite a reference to the 10,000 Treo 600s? You may be correct, but I think it's too early to call it a fact.

Regarding the second FACT, it can't be because January hasn't happened yet. It's not a fact, but your prediction based on...?

Regarding the third FACT, well, it's more of an opinion, isn't it?

Hippocrates, please chill. A contrarian view is certainly welcome. It keeps us Palm fans on our toes and entertained. But I can do without the hyperbole.

RE: A little context...
mikecane @ 11/22/2003 10:52:17 AM #
>>>I could tell you but then I'd have to... you know...

Please do that to yourself. Preferably before your acct here is deleted again... and again... and again.

RE: A little context...
Michael Mace @ 11/24/2003 1:22:33 PM #
Taska asked:

>How many units are Palm OS smartphone?

That's the sort of stuff I can't get into because of the &%^& quiet period. More to come in mid-December.

>AFAIK, Nokia symbian 'smartphone' dwarf the sales of any other smartphone

Yeah. Then you get into a discussion of what a "smartphone" is and who's buying them to do what. In the end, each person will have to decide how they feel the market works. It's very messy and confusing, which is why I'm starting to try to raise some of the issues here.

Taking a closer look at the numbers doesn't necessarily spin things in favor of PalmSource or any other company, but at least we'll all be talking about realities rather than statistical phantoms, which is what sometimes happens now.

>smartphone has never been counted, why demand a count now?

Because the smartphone numbers are now reaching a point where they affect the non-smartphone "PDA" numbers. Previously, smartphone sales were low enough that they didn't make a huge difference.

As the handheld market breaks into multiple segments, it's going to be harder and harder to measure overall market share. So this is just the beginning...

CCO, PalmSource Inc.

RE: A little context...
EdH @ 11/24/2003 6:22:51 PM #
>No, actually, people started calling them MS
>cheerleaders when MS' PDA marketshare was
>embarassingly small, but Gartner still felt it
>necessary to layer every press release with things
>like '...But Microsoft is still the one to watch!'

ANd now that Palm is below 50% and Pocket PC is above 30%, it appears Gartner was right, eh? It is certainly telling when Palm Inc. *alone* was above 80% share just 4-5 years ago. Now they are well below half of that.

RE: A little context...
Gekko @ 11/24/2003 6:37:43 PM #
>Michael Dell feels "it's too late for Palm"

RE: A little context...
abosco @ 11/24/2003 9:02:07 PM #
Honestly, I think this has nothing to do with the OS's and everything to do with the hardware it runs on. HP has the hot hand right now, and more people are buying them. Gartner DID sugar coat their press releases in Microsofts favor because they're giving them the reach-around. I hope we can all agree to this fact and move on.

As for Dell, in coordinance with the "honesty" portion of my paragraph above, I still don't see Dell as a major competitor yet. Michael Dell probably sees Microsoft as the pre-determined winning platform, and was probably expecting to go into Palm OS after trumping HP in PPC to make sure they have all bases covered. I think since they didn't achieve their "guaranteed 10% marketshare" with the X5 by overestimating the sales of their PDA, they are now rethinking their business plan. I think Dell failed in this aspect, because HP has some appealing features out that I don't think Dell is matching, despite their low price on a Wifi PDA. Maybe it's just me who doesn' see it as all-that-groundbreaking. Call me crazy.

I'm still making a list to Santa for OS 6 (PLEASE Mike, tell me you guys found a good way to multitask with less overhead. PLEASE!).

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616



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