Handheld sales: Palm even, HP down, Dell up
The second quarter of 2005 was not a great one for handheld device sales, with a lack of new releases and an overall market slump taking a toll on at least one of the major manufacturers.
Palm gained 3% over their sales in the first quarter of this year, remaining the number one single seller despite a decline in shipments of 31% compared to a the second quarter of 2004.
HP stayed in second place, with a sales drop of 35% from Q1 2005, and 39% from the period a year ago.
In a surprise third-place finish is Acer, usurping Dell’s usual spot in the list. Acer, whose PocketPCs are virtually unknown in the US, had a massive sales spike on demand for its GPS-integrated devices, rising 61% from the first quarter, and a whopping 608% compared to a year ago. It remains to be seen whether they can sustain such a spike–other manufacturers such as Medion have come and gone from the top five, frequently on just this sort of spike in the GPS PocketPC market.
Dell, coming in at number four, had a mixed quarter. Their sales were down 17% compared to a year ago, but up 17% compared to the previous quarter. It’s worth noting that in Q2 2004, Dell released the massively popular X30 series, stimulating a burst of sales, while they did not have any releases in Q2 2005.
Rounding out the top 5 is Germany-based Yakumo, a manufacturer of PocketPC based GPS navigation systems which are popular in Europe. Like Acer, Yakumo is also in a sales spike, gaining 52% over Q1 2005, and 346% over Q2 2004.
Despite the fact that Dell and Palm are actually up, this is being taken by many as an opportunity to shout about the total implosion of the handheld market–in fact, the title of the CNET article is Handheld market still tanking, study says. Realistically, a moderate early-year slump is usually to be expected for most manufacturers, since it’s the time of least buying and fewest new releases. While I suspect that pundits would pronounce the handheld market’s imminent death even if all the manufacturers we showing sales upsurges, the current argument hinges on HP’s performance.
Many of HP’s recent round of PocketPCs have been lackluster in design and overpriced, leading users to consider products by Dell, others, or simply to not upgrade at all. While good for Dell and others, this results in significant losses for HP. If the handheld market is dead, someone has neglected to inform Palm, Dell, and Acer.
Memo to HP: The pay really ISN’T the same whether you try or not, and it appears that the days of being able to charge a massive premium for the iPaq name may be over.
Pretec shipping 4 GB SD card
Pretec has taken the wraps off their newest memory card. Rated at speeds up to 133x, the 4 GB card is the largest SD memory card on the market, and yes, I want one.
But as drool-worthy as this is, don’t pull out your wallet yet. The new cards are currently shipping at a price of $700. While this is likely to come down once the new cards start shipping in larger quantities, some time next month, it will be some time before it has become really affordable to the consumer market.
In related news, Pretec has dropped the list price of their 12 GB CompactFlash card from a cattle-stunning $10,000 to a merely Taser-like $5,000.
Pics, specs of HTC Wizard models
Norwegian language site WindowsMobile.no has acquired at least one live HTC Wizard PocketPC phone, and posted photos and specifications. The site lists a 320 x 240 QVGA screen, EDGE/UMTS wireless data, Bluetooth, WiFi, MiniSD, 1.3 megapixel camera, and Windows Mobile 5.0.
Meanwhile, the FCC has opened the lid on at least two more Wizard variants: a Wizard 100, in versions with and without a camera (the latter being marked as the 110), and a Wizard 200 with a different style of slide-out keyboard and physical design, the latter being the model demoed by WindowsMobile.no. Interestingly, according to the FCC filing documents, HTC says that the internal circuitry on all three models is the same, which begs the question of what the different versions are intended for. The confidentiality date on the filings is September 2005, suggesting that the Wizard may be available relatively soon.