The headline says it all: "Worldwide PDA market declined 9.1 percent in 2002." This title is from a market analysis report from Gartner. IDC numbers are even gloomier, showing a 12 percent decline in year-over-year units shipped.
There are a number of relevant reasons for this decreasing market, in which Palm, Sony, HP, Toshiba, or Casio are the top five.
Reason No. 1: Enterprise-level companies that buy units in the thousands are finding better ways to solve their mobile problems.
Roto-Rooter, a Cincinnati-based company with $280 million in revenue, selected a Java-enabled Nextel phone over a handheld with eTrace from Gearworks. Roto-Rooter will deploy the Nextels in its field force.
Cost was the primary reason given by the CIO, Steve Poppe, but he also says, "We couldn’t find something that was as simple. Everybody carries a cell phone."
Reason No. 2: Real work requires real computers. Now that we have the phenomenon of both wireless LANs and 2.5G and 3G data services, gaining access to the corporate network is getting less and less problematic.
Boeing and Lufthansa announced that they will roll out Wi-Fi on their transatlantic flights for approximately 30 euros (about $32.50) per flight. British Airways, Japan Airlines, and Scandinavian Airlines will follow suit a bit later in the year, and
Xacct in Santa Clara, Calif., is the software supplier and Cisco in San Jose, Calif., is the hardware supplier for Boeing's and Lufthansa's Wi-Fi rollout. Chicago-based Boeing, the prime contractor, will retrofit the planes with Wi-Fi hubs, wiring, and power. The aircraft will be Internet-enabled via Boeing's satellite network, which will deliver 20GB of spectrum to each plane. Each plane has up 20Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink of shared bandwidth, enough for DSL quality at just about every seat.
"The vision is to offer totally transparent services as if you were sitting in your office, says Anil Uberoy, senior vice president of marketing and business technology at Xacct.
That kind of capability makes the notebook, not the handheld, the single most important device you can have, perhaps after a cell phone.
Reason No. 3: Wireless data cards in notebooks offer ubiquitous access. Danny Gumport, vice president of engineering at Overture Services in
Gumport also reinforces Reason No. 1. "I debated between getting a wireless handheld with the Verizon card, but with the amount of spreadsheet and Word docs I do … for real stuff, you need a real computer behind it," he says.