The number of handhelds shipped worldwide was up 20.7 percent last quarter, according to figures from market-research company Gartner Dataquest.
During the third quarter of this year, 3.45 million units were shipped, making this the best third quarter ever for handheld shipments.
The industry is on track to surpass 15 million handhelds shipped this year, easily breaking the record of 13.2 million in 2001.
And some might say that growth was even stronger, as Gartner classifies some devices as smartphones that others would consider cellular-wireless handhelds. Smartphone shipments aren't included in these figures.
The company at the top of this market last quarter was Research in Motion (RIM). It shipped 862,000 BlackBerry handhelds, a 50 increase over the previous quarter.
This doesn't include the 188,000 BlackBerry 7100 series smartphones that also shipped during the period.
According to Gartner, HP held second place in the handheld market with 552,000 units shipped last quarter.
However, this is where many would disagree with some of Gartner's numbers, as HP's cellular-wireless handhelds that are shipped through wireless carriers aren't included in this total.
Shipping 479,000 units put Palm, Inc. in third place in the worldwide handheld market.
As with the other companies, this does not include the 583,000 Treo smartphones that shipped during the quarter. The total of Palm's handheld and smartphone shipments is actually greater than the number of handhelds and smartphones shipped by RIM.
As mentioned earlier, Gartner breaks out shipments of cellular-wireless handhelds sold by wireless carriers. By its numbers, 207,000 shipments of the Sidekick II and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices put T-Mobile in fourth place in the handheld market.
Nokia only makes two devices that Gartner classifies as handhelds, but sales of the 9300 and 9500 Communicators were strong enough to put this company in fifth place last quarter.
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