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Handheld market continues to decline
3/2/2005 11:23

The worldwide market for handheld devices experienced its fourth successive quarter of year- over-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a report released Wednesday by IDC.
IDC, a global leading high-tech market research firm, said handheld device shipments in the fourth quarter increased 37.4 percent sequentially but fell 18.7 percent year-over-year to 2.8 million units.
For the full year 2004, worldwide handheld device shipments reached 9.2 million units, down 13 percent from 2003's shipments of 10.6 million units.
2004 marks the first time since 1999 that worldwide handheld device shipments have slipped to under 10 million units and the third straight year of decline since the market's peak in 2001, IDC said.
This distinction, underscored by the departures during the year of top vendors Sony and Toshiba, further emphasizes the increasing competition and search for relevance that handheld device vendors are facing in today's marketplace.
The high-tech market research firm attributed the decline to the departure of top vendors like Sony and Toshiba as well as the lack of compelling solutions beyond integrated GPS receivers.
According to IDC's figures, palmOne continued to lead the global handheld device market, but it also suffered an 11.1 percent year-over-year decrease in shipments, despite an impressive 59.5 percent sequential gain in shipments in the fourth quarter.
Hewlett-Packard lost 2.7 percent market share as a result of a 10.7 percent year-over-year drop in shipments. Dell, less affected by seasonality due to its direct sales model and enterprise focus, still experienced a loss of 2.2 percent market share during the fourth quarter.