Research in Motion (RIM) remained in pole position for PDA shipments during the first quarter of 2006, but is facing stiff competition as its competitors release rival products, according to analyst Gartner.
Worldwide PDA shipments totalled 3.65 million units in Q1 2006, a 6.6 per cent increase on Q1 2005. Gartner’s latest PDA research attributed the growth rate mainly to RIM sales of the BlackBerry device.
RIM’s worldwide PDA shipments grew by 30.8 per cent in Q1 with 929,883 units shipped, and accounted for 25.5 per cent of all PDA shipments in the quarter. Palm took second place with 459,970 units shipped, followed closely by Hewlett-Packard (HP) with 421,336 units.
Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, told CRN: “RIM is still growing, but in the second half of 2006 we expect other vendors to come out with products with integrated keyboards to rival the BlackBerry. In Europe, Nokia will probably be RIM’s biggest competitive threat when it releases its E61 wireless PDA, while Palm will be RIM’s biggest challenger in the US.”
Charmaine Eggberry, RIM’s vice-president enterprise business unit EMEA, said: “RIM is well positioned for continued growth and success, with unrivalled heritage and experience, extensive global presence and loyal customer advocates for the BlackBerry.”
However, VAR Handheld PCs believes that by the end of the year, Microsoft-based PDAs will be outselling BlackBerrys.
Pierre Lams, co-founder of Handheld PCs, said: “We sell the BlackBerry, but since the end of last year we’ve been getting more demand for PDAs that run on a Microsoft platform, such as Xda, i-mate and Qtec PDAs. What’s interesting is that all of these PDAs are actually made by a Taiwanese company called HTC and then branded as an i-mate or Qtec product.”
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