The continued evolution of mobile phones and growing sophistication of converged mobile devices means a bleak future for traditional PDAs (personal digital assistants), market research firm
“From mobile phones to converged mobile devices, which combine the data capabilities of PDAs with the voice communication capabilities of mobile phones, competing device types will draw buyers away from traditional handheld devices,” the firm notes in a new report, “Worldwide Smart Handheld Devices Forecast and Analysis, 2003-2007.” According to the firm’s prognostications, this year the worldwide handheld device industry will decline by 8.4 percent to 11.35 million units, its second straight year of decline.
IDC forecasts “limited growth” next year, but notes that “dreams” of a 20 million unit-a-year market will be replaced by a less than 15 million unit-a-year “reality.” The result will be companies such as Palm, Handspring, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard moving more toward converged mobile devices with such devices seeing strong growth this year (with sales approaching 13 million units).
If the research firm is right, Apple’s decision not to produce a PDA may be a good choice. CEO Steve Jobs
that Apple doesn’t see PDAs as a lucrative market. He has also said that the company has no plans to product an Apple-branded cell phone.