PDA sales fall in wait for Pocket PC 2002, says Dataquest

Sales of PDAs (personal digital assistants) dropped in the third quarter as users waited for Microsoft Corp.’s Pocket PC 2002, according to market researcher Dataquest Inc., a division of Gartner Inc.

Worldwide PDA shipments in the third quarter totaled 2.54 million units, down 9.5 per cent from 2.81 million the previous quarter. Shipments of PDAs based on Microsoft’s platform made up 18 per cent of the overall market, down from 30 percent in the second quarter, Dataquest said in a news release.

Users knew Microsoft would launch Pocket PC 2002 in October, leading them to postpone buying, Dataquest said.

Compaq Computer Corp., the largest vendor of PDAs running Microsoft’s software, saw shipments of its iPaq shrivel from the 450,000 it shipped in the second quarter to 185,000 in the third quarter. Compaq is now the third-largest vendor of PDAs in the world with a 7.3 per cent market share, down from second place and a 16 per cent share in the second quarter, according to Dataquest.

Microsoft continues to trail Palm Inc. Over half (52 per cent) of the PDAs sold in the third quarter run the Palm OS, Palm’s operating system. Palm OS shipments declined three per cent from the second quarter, according to Dataquest.

Palm also dominates the global PDA device market with a 29.7 per cent share, slightly down from 31.7 per cent in the second quarter. The company sold 754,000 units, down from 890,000 last quarter.

Handspring Inc. and Casio Computer Co. Ltd. are the only two PDA vendors that managed to increase their market share in the third quarter, according to Dataquest.

Handspring, which sells Palm OS-based devices, shipped 352,000 units, up from 300,000, and Casio sold 143,000 units based on Microsoft’s platform, up from 94,000. Handspring is the world’s second largest vendor, with a 10.7 per cent share. Casio comes in fourth with a 3.3 per cent share, according to Dataquest.

Dataquest, in San Jose, Calif., can be reached at