Taking a different approach than other market research firms, Gartner released a study Tuesday that claims sales of PDAs increased 32 percent in the second quarter of 2005 compared to the same quarter a year ago.
A number of other studies have said that PDA sales are down. However, Gartner includes in its PDA unit sales study wireless devices such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry, which connects wirelessly to gather e-mail and connect to the Web. The other studies don't include devices with wireless capabilities.
According to Gartner's numbers, RIM is the leading PDA vendor with 23.2 percent of the worldwide PDA market compared to 18.6 percent a year ago. Palm suffered a major decline from first position with 33.2 percent of the market a year ago to second place with 17.8 percent this year. Because of the way Gartner measures, Palm's successful Treo smartphone is not included as a PDA.
The study had HP in third place and Nokia in fourth.
"The steady growth in the PDA market can be attributed to a combination of factors," Todd Kort, a Gartner principal analyst, said in a statement. "Wireless PDAs are increasingly seen as an adjunct or alternative to notebook computers, while favorable exchange rates have enabled more Europeans to purchase PDAs at an attractive price."
The study found that Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform is the leading platform for PDAs by almost a two-to-one margin over RIM's platform. That's because multiple vendors use the Microsoft platform. The Palm OS is in third place, according to Gartner.
Gartner provided this explanation of what it considers a PDA:
"A data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open market operating system supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices."