Gartner Says Worldwide PDA Shipments Grew 7 Percent While Revenue Increased 17 Percent in 2004

STAMFORD, CONN., February 14, 2005 — Led by strong growth by Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry shipments, worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments increased 6.6 percent in 2004, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. An increased average selling price (ASP) drove worldwide PDA revenue to a record $4.3 billion in 2004, a 16.7 percent increase from the year before. In the fourth quarter of 2004, the ASP of PDAs reached $353, up 9.4 percent from 2003.

"The PDA market has shifted from unconnected organizers overwhelmingly purchased by consumers to a market in which 44 percent of the devices shipped in 2004 offered integrated wireless area network (WAN) and/or wireless LAN (WLAN) connectivity," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "Wireless PDAs generally have higher ASPs, driving the market to record revenue. Another factor for the increased revenue is that nearly half of all PDAs are now purchased, or reimbursed, by enterprises."

Hewlett-Packard PDAs had an estimated ASP of $430, producing end-user revenue of $1.132 billion in 2004, which accounted for 26 percent of PDA revenue (see Table 1). However, RIM experienced the largest growth rate on a revenue and shipment basis.

"A major factor in RIM's recent success has been its ability to rapidly add many new carrier partners, expanding its geographical reach," Mr. Kort said. Approximately 20 percent of RIM's fourth quarter shipments were in Europe, and RIM is poised to become the world's leading PDA vendor, in units and revenue, in 2005.

Table 1
Preliminary Worldwide PDA Revenue Estimates for 2004 (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

2004 Revenue 2004 Market Share (%) 2003 Revenue 2003 Market Share (%) 2003 - 2004 Growth (%)
Hewlett-Packard 1,132 26.1 988 26.5 14.6
palmOne 838 19.3 926 24.9 -9.4
Research In Motion 806 18.6 239 6.4 236.6
Symbol 253 5.8 232 6.2 9.0
Dell 215 4.9 159 4.3 35.3
Others 1,097 25.3 1,177 31.6 -6.8
Total 4,342 100.0 3,721 100.0 16.7
Note: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 600 or BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 6315.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (February 2005)

palmOne continued to ship more PDAs than any other vendor in 2004, but it experienced a 10.7 percent decline in worldwide PDA shipments in 2004 despite the retreat of Sony from the market. palmOne has been increasingly focusing on the smartphone market, and about 1.1 million Treos were shipped in 2004. Gartner does not include voice-centric device shipments in the PDA results (see Table 2).

Table 2
Preliminary Worldwide PDA Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2004 (Thousands of Units)

2004 Shipments 2004 Market Share (%) 2003 Shipments 2003 Market Share (%) 2003 - 2004 Growth (%)
palmOne 3,726,172 30.3 4,171,690 36.2 -10.7
Hewlett-Packard 2,664,151 21.7 2,270,086 19.7 17.4
Research In Motion 2,178,000 17.7 604,521 5.2 260.3
Dell 693,126 5.6 582,020 5.1 19.1
Sony 480,648 3.9 1,404,289 12.2 -65.8
Others 2,544,422 20.7 2,490,435 21.6 2.2
Total 12,286,519 100.0 11,523,041 100.0 6.6
Note: Totals do not include smartphones, such as the Treo 600 or BlackBerry 7100, but include wireless PDAs, such as the iPAQ 6315.
Source: Gartner Dataquest (February 2005)

The Windows CE operating systems (OS) has steadily gained share in the PDA OS market. In 2003, Windows CE accounted for 37.7 percent of the worldwide PDA OS market. In 2004, Windows CE became the No. 1 PDA OS when it accounted for 43 percent of OS shipments. Palm OS has slipped from 50 percent of OS shipments in 2003 to 36.3 percent market share in 2004.

"Microsoft-based PDAs have gained favor mostly due to their affinity with the Windows PC market and Microsoft's ability to attract more than 30 licensees around the globe," Mr. Kort said.

Additional information is available in the Gartner Alert RIM Sparked PDA Market to Grow 6.6 Percent in 2004. The Alert provides preliminary results for the worldwide PDA market in the fourth quarter of 2004, as well as year-end results. This document is available on Gartner's Web site at

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