Sales of handhelds have been in the doldrums over the last several years, caused at least in part by the weak world economy. ABI, a technology-market research firm, predicts this is about to change and credits the improvement to new wireless handhelds.
Until now, wireless handhelds have made up a small percentage of overall handheld sales, which ABI blames on the devices having to be overly large to fit the extra hardware required. But ABI says that future devices of this type will be smaller and therefore sell in higher number. "Connected PDAs will represent over 50% of the total PDA market by 2006," affirms Kenil Vora, ABI analyst. The company also says that the overall handheld market will grow to $10 billion by 2008 with a major portion derived from wireless handhelds.
However, ABI sees a less rosy future for smart phones, at least in the near term. It predicts that sales of smart phones will continue to be a small percentage of overall mobile phone sales for several years.
The company defines a connected PDA as a converged devices with a handheld-based standardized operating system like the Palm OS or Pocket PC. Smart phones, on the other hand, are more like standard cellular handsets and employ a related operating system, like the Symbian OS.
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