The Gartner reporting firm predicts that the worldwide market for PDAs will reach about 15.5 million units in 2002, an 18 percent growth rate from last year, when buyers pocketed 13 million of the devices, in an 18.3 percent increase from 2000.
As a new market matures, unit-volume growth always levels off. But 18 percent is nothing to sniff at, especially compared with the contraction in the PC market, which declined by about 5 percent in 2001. Recent projections indicate that the PC market will grow by about 3 percent in 2002.
Despite the slower growth, Gartner says the PDA market isn’t on the ropes. In fact, the firm says growth could improve again in 2003.
Gartner predicts that the PDA market will regain some of its lost steam the second half of this year, as new models from Palm–based on version 5 of its operating system–hit the market, and competition among vendors intensifies.
Growth in 2003 will likely be fueled by upgrades as new models debut with more powerful processors, greater data storage capacity and new wireless capabilities such as connections to cellular networks for wide-area wireless communications.
The year of 2003 is expected to bring PDA’s back into the spotlight, as it was in 99-00.