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PDA market poised for growth after sluggish 2002

Posted: 27 Feb 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:InStat? PDA? camera?

The PDA market is poised for growth as the devices sport lower prices, increased functionality, and wireless and multimedia capability, according to a report from InStat/MDR.

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based market research firm forecasts an 18.3 percent CAGR in the device category between now and 2007.

"Multimedia and Wireless Functionality: Changing the Way Consumers perceive PDAs," reported that this year the PDA market is expected to grow from nearly 11 million units shipped in 2002 to 13.9 million units in 2003.

The growth will come as a result of a recovery in corporate spending in Q3 or Q4 this year, and increased consumer confidence in the economy.

Instat/MDR analyst Cindy Wolf explained that PDA manufacturers want to expand the device beyond the "just PC peripherals" category, and are strategizing to offer three tiers of devices with different prices, capabilities, and applications. These new offerings should increase demand among both consumers and corporate users.

As an example of the types of devices the market will see, Wolf pointed to Sony Electronics Inc.'s recently introduced Clie NZ90, an $800 PDA with a 2-megapixel camera, the first of its kind in terms of the quality of the camera lens. In addition, it offers the ability to film short movies with the camera, a built-in flash, and a lens cover. It also features a WiFi (802.11b) communications slot as well as integrated Bluetooth wireless connectivity options.

Wolf said consumers would not see these advanced features in either low-end devices in the sub-$200 range, or middle range devices in the $200 to $399 range for several years. But as component prices come down, prices too will drop.

Over the next few years, PDA manufacturers will also add color screens for better viewing of multimedia applications such as gaming, pictures, or even movies.

PDAs will also feature wireless communications such as 802.11 and Bluetooth, and Internet access, with analysts projecting devices that integrate this function will jump from 15 percent in 2002 to 75 percent of devices by 2007.

- Margaret Quan

EE Times

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