Global sales of personal digital assistant (PDA) computers totalled 2.75 million units between April and June, marking the end of 10 consecutive quarters of falling shipments.
According to a report by analyst Gartner, sales were up 12 per cent from the same period in 2003.
Gartner noted that the industry's growth was helped significantly by the increase in demand for Research in Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry device, which it said increased 289 per cent in the second quarter of 2004.
Hewlett Packard's PDA shipments were found to have increased 38.9 per cent in the second quarter, although most of its models were about one year old.
Gartner analysts said these results demonstrate the strong reputation that HP's iPaq has cultivated within many large organisations. HP did well in Europe because of the success in GPS modules and the strong adoption of Bluetooth.
"The second quarter results show a continuing shift from what has been a predominantly consumer market to a market in which more than one third of all PDA purchases are made by organisations," said Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's computing platforms worldwide group.
In terms of PDA operating systems shipments Palm OS continued to lead the market, with a worldwide market share of just over 40 per cent in the second quarter of 2004. But its market share was down from the second quarter of 2003 when it accounted for 51 per cent of the market.
Windows CE's market share in the second quarter of 2004 reached 36.6 per cent, up slightly from the same period last year when its market share totalled 36.3 per cent.
RIM's share of the PDA OS market increased to 18.6 per cent, up from 5.3 per cent market share in the second quarter of 2003.
With the increased sales in the business market, Gartner said the worldwide PDA market is positioned for low single-digit growth in 2004. PDA shipments are projected to approach 12 million units this year.
"Smartphones will continue to impact the PDA market. However, the high prices of smartphones and their relative immaturity will prevent a rapid shift from PDAs," said Kort.
"Instead, the vast majority of smartphone sales in the next year will be to individuals upgrading their cell phones. The palmOne Treo is one of the few exceptions."
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