Converged handheld devices will continue to enjoy popularity in the local market this year, while their pure personal digital assistant (PDA) peers will see a downturn, according to a report released yesterday.
Sales of converged handhelds -- which mainly include smartphones and data-centric PDAs offering touch screens or standard keyboards -- are set to expand by 56 percent this year over last year, while the pure PDA segment will shrink by 12 percent, according to International Data Corp (IDC) Taiwan.
The handheld device market consists of converged handhelds and pure PDAs.
Last year, pure PDAs already reported a drop in sales of 10 percent over the previous year, while converged handhelds saw sales soar 81 percent, the technology research firm said.
"Converged handhelds will still take the lion's share of the overall handheld device market this year as they incorporate more functionalities. Among them, we expect voice-based smart phones to sharply outgrow their data-centric counterparts, thanks to lower average selling prices," said analyst Sunny Chen (陳睿聆) in the report.
In contrast, pure PDAs -- which are not voice-based -- are set to face a bleak future, as their core global positioning system (GPS) technology will fail to salvage declining sales.
"There are too many vendors embedding GPS feature into pure PDAs nowadays, causing the pricing of such products to fall. GPS is losing the power to accelerate the segment's growth," she said.
IDC's statistics also showed that local sales of all handheld devices experienced a decline in the fourth quarter of last year, as a lack of new models failed to stimulate consumer spending.
Combined sales of all handheld devices tumbled to 120,992 units in the fourth quarter, down from nearly 150,000 units during the same period a year ago, it said.
Pure PDAs only accounted for 30 percent of all sales during the period, while the rest went to converged devices, it said.
“The overall decline is being dragged down by a lack of growth stimulus, as most models on the market have already been available for one or two quarters,” Chen said in the report.