Are iPods Killing Handheld Device Market?

Nov 12th, 2007 | By | Category: iPhone, iPods & Portable Media Players

by James Lewin

The market for handheld devices such as Palms and Pocket PCs is tanking. The worldwide handheld device market posted its fifteenth consecutive quarter of decline in shipments. According to IDC, vendors shipped 728,894 handheld devices in 3Q07, 39.3% less from the same quarter a year ago.

“The handheld device market has been under constant pressure, with mobile phones and converged mobile devices appropriating many of the handheld’s salient attributes,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Device Technology and Trends team. “Handheld product portfolios have suffered as vendors have reallocated their production resources.”

“However, the handheld device market may be down, but is not necessarily out. The handheld still has a loyal, if shrinking, following in developed economies, especially among enterprise users. In emerging markets, the appeal of the handheld devices seems anchored in the fact that, in the absence of a monthly service plan, it has a lower total cost of ownership compared to mobile phones and/or the converged mobile device.”

One thing Llamas doesn’t touch on is the influence of iPods and iPhones.

As Apple’s portable media players have grown in sophistication, they’ve added many of the features that people used handheld devices for, including calendars, contacts, games. Add to that photos, music and video, and now web browsing and mail, and iPods can do the bulk of the tasks that many people once used Palms and Pocket PCs for.

Leave a Reply