SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., February, 2003 - With the lackluster year
of 2002 now out of the way, the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
market is poised for growth this year as manufacturers adjust
their strategies to focus on expanding the market. According to
high-tech market research firm, In-Stat/MDR,
while the weak global economy, continuing erosion of US consumer
confidence, and lack of corporate IT spending were the major contributors
to lower growth in 2002, lower unit prices, improved operating
systems, and a wave of multimedia and wireless functionality being
integrated into PDAs will spark growth this year.
PDAs are forecasted to have a healthy 18.3% Compound Annual Growth
Rate (CAGR) over the 2002-2007 period, with the highest growth
rate anticipated for 2003. Future growth will rely on convincing
consumers that PDAs can be more than just PC peripherals,
says Cindy Wolf, an Analyst with In-Stat/MDR. To that end,
strategies for vendors and component manufacturers are adjusting.
There are now three tiers of products: low-end, middle-range,
and high-end devices and In-Stat/MDR expects most manufacturers
to offer a range of devices in all three categories this year.
Devices are clearly moving beyond the basic applications of Personal
Information Management (PIM). An increase in multimedia functionality
is expected this year, as other manufacturers move into this market
to compete more directly with Sony. Manufacturers also appear
to be decreasing their margins on devices in order offer products
that will attract new users to the market.
In-Stat/MDR also found that:
The ability to access the Internet from a PDA is being increasingly
integrated into these devices. About 15% of PDAs offered this
functionality in 2002, and this percentage is expected to grow
to 75% by 2007.
Processors are continuing their trend of integration and more
competitors are expected to vie for a piece of the market. A variety
of products offering on-chip memory, improved power consumption
and support for greater functionality will become available.
The standard for memory slots for PDAs is continuing its trend
toward Secure Digital (SD). In addition, flash memory card densities
are reaching new, higher capacities, which will make multimedia
and wireless functionality more useful.
Wireless and communications functionalities will increase this
year on PDAs, especially on high-end devices. Users will have
a choice of 802.11 and Bluetooth models for a variety of usage
models, and a number of new devices will offer communications
capability to help users reduce the number of devices that they
need to carry.