Handheld market continues to decline
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.
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.
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.