Shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) dropped 5.3 per cent last year to 11.5 million units, as smartphone sales began eating into the low end of the market.
Research by analyst organisation Gartner found that PDA shipments in western Europe increased by 12 per cent but dropped 20 per cent in the Asia/Pacific region.
Vendors of low-end PDAs, especially based on the Palm OS, are the hardest hit, said Gartner.
Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner's worldwide computing platforms group, predicted that smartphone sales will hit the low end of the PDA market as consumers the personal information management and email capabilities of smartphones acceptable.
This Palm OS market will be affected because a relatively high percentage of users rely on Palm OS devices solely for their personal information management capabilities.
Kort said in a statement: "Smartphones will become more important in the enterprise market in 2005, at which point we expect to see increasing erosion of the Microsoft side of the market."
Research in Motion was found to have thrived in the fourth quarter of 2003, shipping a total of 259,000 units - nearly the same as its total shipments for 2002.
Gartner dubbed Hewlett Packard, with its release of seven new PDA models, the "most aggressive" vendor in the second half of 2003.
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