In a massive popularity shift, of the 2.8 million PDAs that were shipped globally last quarter, Windows Mobile took a 48.1% market share while the Palm OS took a meager 29.8. The Palm OS fell sharply over the prior quarter where it held the number one spot with a 46.9% market share. The exit of Sony is being blamed for the fall.
"The robust Microsoft Windows CE market has been driven in part by the wide choice of vendors," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "Business customers tend to steer clear of markets dominated by a single supplier, which is where the Palm OS market stands today."
"A decline in Palm OS shipments was expected in the third quarter of 2004, but not of this magnitude," Mr. Kort said. "The company is pouring the vast majority of its resources into its smartphone business. A reduction in the number of PDA models palmOne offers is expected in 2005."
Now when you look at the chart above, notice the caption. palmOne will surely be up in arms that the h6315 gets to be included because it has WiFi, but the Treo 600 does not. Notice palmOne still maintains the total shipments lead in the next chart.
The departure of Sony surely hurts PalmSource and the Palm OS. With the emphasis PalmSource is placing on Smartphones and the fact they're not counted here, I'm sure PalmSource will take a shoulder shrugging attitude toward these numbers. They can't be totally discounted though. Dell and HP have been making great strides and RIM continues to grow. Competition is certainly a good thing.
Additional information is available in the Gartner Alert "Windows CE Surpasses Palm OS in 3Q04." The Alert provides preliminary results for the worldwide and U.S. PDA market, as well overall shipments on a regional basis. This document is available on Gartner's Web site at http://www3.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=459718
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