"Smart phones" -- data-centric handheld devices with additional voice functionality -- will continue to eat into the market share of personal data assistants (PDAs) in Taiwan because of their improving external design and better quality cameras, market researcher International Data Corp (IDC) said in a report yesterday.
During the third quarter of last year, robust sales of smart phones led to stagnation in PDA sales, IDC said in its latest report.
Sales of pure PDAs accounted for a third of the total sales of handheld devices in Taiwan during the third quarter of last year, down from 45 percent a year earlier because of lower prices for handheld gadgets with operating systems and additional voice-call functionality, IDC said.
The external design of smart phones has also improved, it added.
"Some [smart phone] models are now equipped with a [high-end] mega-pixel camera, but have a similar price to an average mobile phone," said Sunny Chen (陳睿聆), an analyst at IDC's local branch, in the report.
PDAs and smart phones are wireless handheld gadgets embedded with operating systems from Microsoft, or Symbian, which allow users to process data like computers.
"Some consumers have no idea that they are buying smart phones," Chen said.
During the July-September period, sales of all handheld devices soared by around 47 percent to 109,945 units, compared to less than 80,000 units in the same period last year, according to statistics compiled by IDC.
Looking ahead, Chen expects smart phones to be the rising star and take more market share from PDAs in the nation's handheld devices sector.
IDC estimated that handheld devices would grow 15 percent in the final quarter of last year from the third quarter helped mostly by increasing demand for smart phones as vendors launched more new models to spur demand.