Worldwide shipments of PDAs and smartphones combined totalled 42,1-million units in the first half of 2006, a 57% increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner. 

Smartphone shipments bolstered the market, growing 75,5% to reach 34,7-million units, more than four times the size of the PDA market. PDA shipments increased by 5,7%, totalling 7,4-million units.
“Japan overtook Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to become the largest market for smartphones in the first half of 2006,” says Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst in Gartner’s computing platforms worldwide group.
“Japan now accounts for 33% of the worldwide smartphone market.
“North America was the only region where sales of PDAs continued to outsell smartphones. Consumer taste and fashion, advances in personal information manager (PIM) software and messaging, and rapidly declining prices all combined to drive the strong growth in smartphone sales.
“On the other hand, consumer demand for PDAs is dwindling, especially with no new models from Palm in 2006.”
In Japan, smartphone shipments grew 153% in the first half of the year, despite a decline of 22% in the second quarter of 2006.
Japanese smartphone shipments totalled 11,6-million units in the first half of 2006. This allowed Japan to capture the global lead from EMEA, which grew 26,3%.
EMEA accounted for 30% of the worldwide smartphone market, down from 42% in the first half of 2005.
The Asia Pacific region overall remained very strong during the first half of 2006, accounting for 29% of the worldwide market.
Shipments in North America grew 104% in the first half of 2006. However, its share of the global smartphone market remained fairly stable at 6,3%.
North America remained the only region where PDAs continue to outsell smartphones. In the first half of 2006, the region accounted for 45% of worldwide PDA shipments, slightly up from the same period in 2005. In the first half of 2006, the EMEA and the North America regions accounted for 85% of the PDA market.
Nokia accounted for 42% of the combined PDA and smartphone market in the first half of 2006 and commanded half of the global smartphone market.
“The company’s strategic focus remains on the consumer smartphone segment, so more favourable seasonal trends in the second half of the year and the introduction of new models should help Nokia achieve higher shipments of its basic smartphones,” says Cozza.
Motorola accounted for 5,3% of the combined PDA and smartphone market. Motorola’s smartphone shipments grew 103,5% in the first half of 2006, which represented the highest year on year growth among the top five vendors.
In the first half of 2006, RiM accounted for 6,5% of the combined PDA and smartphone market, with shipments up 60% year-on-year. RiM smartphone shipments represent 36% of all BlackBerry mobile devices, up from 9% in the same period last year. The company retained its leadership position in the global PDA market in the first half of 2006, with an increase of 13,5% from the same period last year.
“As mobile E-mail expands beyond the executive segment, RiM is responding with a new hardware strategy in the form of their new Pearl device to tackle prosumer (professional consumer) and consumer markets for wireless E-mail,” Todd Kort, principal analyst in Gartner’s computing platform worldwide group.
In the first half of 2006, Palm accounted for 5% of the combined PDA and smartphone market, down from 8% in the first half of 2005. Palm saw a decrease of 26% in the first half of 2006.
“Palm’s PDA business continues to decline as the company shifted its focus on sales of its Treo smartphones, which accounted for 57% of Palm’s mobile device shipments in the first half of 2006,” Kort added.
According to Gartner’s latest forecast, smartphone shipments will increase by 66% to reach 81-million units in 2006.
“The stronger consumer demand which generally characterises the second half of the year will allow higher volume growth in smartphones. Symbian licensees will continue to drive the market and we can expect new product introductions to focus on advanced features, fashion and rich multimedia functionalities which will fuel demand,” Cozza adds.
“Going forward, players in the smartphone segment will need to overcome the challenge of selling the benefits of smartphones over less expensive enhanced phones if they want to increase overall volumes further. It will be crucial for them to focus on promoting content, applications and services that take full advantage of smartphone capabilities.”
In 2006, Gartner expects the PDA market to increase by 6,3% to 16-million units. The market will continue to be driven by broader availability of cellular-enabled PDAs from wireless carriers.