The market for 'smart' handheld devices is set to grow at 13 per cent this
year. Increased demand from corporate buyers and the emergence of more 'converged'
devices that combine telephony with palmtop computing are credited with
driving the increased uptake of the devices.
About 16.5 million handhelds are likely to be shipped this year globally,
compared to 14.6 million last year, according to IDC Corp. The market
is set to cross 31.6 million units by 2006, growing at a 17 per cent annual
clip during the period.
'Smart' handhelds combine many functions, including offering a data organiser,
pen-based input, wireless Internet access, link to corporate LANs, and
mobile telephony. There are two competing OS (operating systems) - Palm
OS from PalmSource Inc; and PocketPC from Microsoft Corp.
'Converged devices are the next great step in the evolution of the handheld
device market. They combine the telephony capabilities of a mobile phone
with the data capabilities of a handheld device, and represent one of
the hottest trends in mobility for 2002 and beyond', said Kevin Burden,
IDC's manager for smart handheld devices research.