Worldwide PDA revenue hit a record US$4.3 billion in 2004, driven by an increased average selling price, according to preliminary results from Gartner research.
In the fourth quarter of 2004, the average selling price of PDAs reached US$353, up 9.4 percent from 2003, the analyst said in a statement.
Worldwide personal digital assistant (PDA) shipments grew 6.6 percent in 2004, according to Gartner's preliminary results.
Lillian Tay, principal analyst for client platforms at Gartner Asia Pacific, told iTnews that it was still mainly businesses and professional users who opted for PDAs. Tay said professional users often used their PDAs to increase their personal productivity, and to take advantage of having data with them on the go.
Tay said take up of PDAs by consumers, for example to use at home, would be a matter of time and other factors, such as price and the extent to which they use data in their lifestyles.
Connection to applications such as sales tracking, warehousing and stock inventory were among the examples Tay cited of what businesses were currently using PDAs for.
Commenting on the analyst's preliminary results, Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group, said 44 percent of PDA devices shipped in 2004 offered integrated wireless area network and/or wireless LAN connectivity.
“Wireless PDAs generally have higher ASPs [average selling prices], driving the market to record revenue," Kort said. "Another factor for the increased revenue is that nearly half of all PDAs are now purchased, or reimbursed, by enterprises.”
Research in Motion (RIM) had the largest growth rate on a revenue and shipment basis, according to the analyst.
Kort said a major factor in RIM’s recent success had been its ability to rapidly add many new carrier partners, to expand its geographical reach.
Gartner's research also found the Windows CE operating systems to have gained share in the PDA operating system (OS) market.
The analyst found that in 2003 Windows CE accounted for 37.7 percent of the worldwide PDA OS market. However, in 2004 Windows CE became the number one PDA OS, accounting for 43 percent of OS shipments, according to Gartner. Palm OS has gone from 50 percent of OS shipments in 2003 to 36.3 percent market share in 2004.
"Microsoft-based PDAs have gained favour mostly due to their affinity with the Windows PC market and Microsoft’s ability to attract more than 30 licensees around the globe,” Kort said.