Worldwide handheld shipments grow 7% in 2004: Gartner
Alright, after years of listening to every lackwitted CNBC-watching armchair pundit declare that the handheld market is dead, I feel like breaking out the champagne. According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide handheld shipments rose by approximately 7% in 2004 over the previous year, breaking the downward trend of 2002 and 2003 sales.
PalmOne remained the leader in total unit sales, moving approximately 3,726,172 Palms, for a 30.3% share of the market. Even so, their sales fell by 10.7% from 2003. However, see the note a little farther down.
HP remained solidly in second, moving 2,664,151 iPaqs to take 21.7% of the market, a 17.4% increase over 2003 sales.
In third place, Research In Motion, who had a banner year. They shipped 2,178,000 Blackberries, a 260% increase over 2003, and claimed 17.7% of the total market.
Fourth is Dell, whose 693,126 sales boosted them to a 5.6% market share, and a 19.1% jump over their 2003 sales.
Last but not least is the ‘Others’ category, which includes Mio, Medion, Garmin, Tapwave, Samsung, Toshiba, Asus, Fujitsu, i-mate, and all the other minor market players. This category had total sales of 2,544,422 units in 2004, and accounted for 20.7% of the market.
As is usual with Gartner’s numbers, they distinguish between data-centric handhelds–such as most Blackberries, non-converged devices, and PocketPC phones–versus voice-centric devices such as the RIM 7100, Windows Smartphones, and the Treos. Therefore, these sales numbers don’t account for an estimated 1.1 million Treos, and 1 million Microsoft Smartphones of various brands, sold in 2004. If you included those, you could pull RIM’s 2.1 million units out of the equation and still come up with an increase in sales. So much for the handheld market being dead.
This also means that PalmOne’s sales are a bit better, versus the 2003 season, than the initial numbers reflect. the Treo 600 didn’t come out until the last quarter of 2003, and while its sales slowed down in 2004, it still sold considerably more units in 2004 than 2003. Hence, the 2003/2004 comparison numbers for PalmOne are better viewed as a reflection of their traditional handhelds.
Microsoft refuses PalmSource .NET license
According to MSMobiles.com, in an interview with their site PalmSource VP for Business Development Albert Chu describes how PalmSource attempted to get a license from Microsoft to create a .NET Compact Framework for the Palm OS, only to have their request denied.
Developer working on WinCE/PPC port of Mozilla browser
The lead developer of the embedded Mozilla project has announced that he’s working on a version of the program aimed at Windows CE, and presumably PocketPCs. From the developer:
So, here is a general call for Windows CE developers! If you are interested in Mozilla on Windows CE and have time to help me with some of the work, please drop me a line.
This would be undeniably nice–though I’d still prefer a PocketPC version of Opera. Hint hint, Opera Software? The developer can be contacted via the project website.
Socket releases SDIO modem card
You’re miles off the beaten track, you’ve got no cell service, and you have only your single-slot handheld and a desperate need to check your email. If that sounds like you, rejoyce: Socket has a landline v.92 modem card that fits into the SDIO slot of single-expansion handhelds. The card provides a full service modem, including faxing, async or full-duplex communication, and Hayes AT commands.