Sales of handheld computers declined by 20.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2005, according to new data from analyst firm IDC.
Device makers such as HP, Palm, Acer and Dell sold only 1.7 million handheld computers during the quarter, as consumers and enterprises shunned PDAs in favour of converged devices that include a mobile phone.
Manufacturers are now looking for new markets to reignite the interest for personal organisers, according to Kevin Burden, research manager at IDC's mobile devices programme.
"Discovering and developing these new solutions are essential for driving the handheld device beyond personal information management and returning the market to growth," he said.
Acer and Yakumo achieved a sales increase by bundling a PDA with global positioning technology that allows the device to be used as a navigation tool.
Palm earlier this year introduced the LifeDrive /2135432 which has a 4GB hard drive and is positioned as an entertainment appliance to compete with the iPod.
Palm remains the largest maker of handhelds, despite a 30 per cent drop in units shipped to 638,000 in the second quarter of 2005. Runner up HP showed an even larger drop as shipments fell 40 per cent to 322,000 units.
Acer surpassed Dell to claim the number three position, with 11.4 per cent market share on year-over-year growth of 608 per cent.
IDC defines a handheld device as pocket-sized and operated by either a pen or a keypad. It has to be capable of synchronising with a desktop of laptop computer.
Handhelds with telephone capabilities do not qualify for IDC's definition, so smartphones, Palm's Treo and RIM's BlackBerry are not included.
Earlier market share figures from research firm Gartner put BlackBerry at the top of the PDA market. Gartner uses a different definition of PDAs, using selected devices based on the manufacturer's description.
This led to the exclusion of the Treo because Palm labels it as a smartphone, but did include the BlackBerry.
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