U.S. Robotics' Pilot Elevates Handheld Market to New Heights, According to Dataquest

San Jose, Calif., May 12, 1997—Driven by the strong growth in standard handhelds, the worldwide handheld market grew 29 percent in 1996 with shipments reaching 1.6 million units, according to Dataquest. The market is forecast to grow 23 percent in 1997. Dataquest analysts attribute the market's growth to the success of U.S. Robotics' Pilot. In 1996, the Pilot's market share reached 51 percent in the standard handheld market.

"The Pilot clearly defined the market for a true handheld device that is unconsciously portable, which we believe is the dominant characteristic for a truly successful handheld," said Mike McGuire, senior industry analyst in Dataquest's Mobile Computing program. "The other defining moment for the handheld market in 1996 came with the introduction of Windows CE. We feel the first Windows CE handhelds, while reasonable first products, will not generate significant unit volumes but will help the market in terms of providing another plateau in the evolution of the handheld market."

Due to the arrival of the Pilot and Windows CE platform, the standard handheld market in 1996 gained dramatically against the expandable organizer market. The expandable organizer market grew 3 percent in 1996, while the standard handheld market grew 80 percent last year.

"Ultimately we see the standard handheld class dominating the overall market as software developers and customers look to leverage the benefits of a standards-based model," said Mr. McGuire. "This year, however, we will see a number of operating system offerings vying for the allegiance of hardware platform vendors."

Standard handheld computers and expandable organizers are subsets of the larger handheld market. Standard handhelds are general purpose computers that are distinguished from organizers by their adherence to hardware and software compatibility standards. They typically measure 4" x 7" x 1" and weigh about a pound.

Expandable organizers are also general purpose computers that are distinguished by the capability to have the user add applications and memory, and that expansion is typically proprietary to a particular device or device family. Organizers measure approximately 3" x 6" x .75" and weigh less than one pound, have a keyboard, and operate on batteries.

Additional information about the handheld market is available in the Dataquest Perspective titled "1996 Worldwide Handheld Market Results: U.S. Robotics' Pilot Overwhelms Market." This report provides analysis on both the standard handheld market, as well as the expandable organizer market. A forecast of the handheld market through the year 2000 is also included.

To purchase this report, or to subscribe to Dataquest's Mobile Computing program, please call 800-419-DATA. More information about Dataquest's programs, descriptions of recent research reports, and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://www.dataquest.com.

Dataquest, founded in 1971, is a global market research and consulting company serving the high-technology and financial communities. The company provides worldwide market coverage on the semiconductor, computer systems and peripherals, communications, document management, software, and services sectors of the information technology industry. Dataquest is a GartnerGroup Company.