Shipments of Windows Mobile PDAs grew 64% in the first quarter of 2007, and this strong growth helped propel worldwide PDA shipments to 5,1-million units, a 39,7% increase from the first quarter of 2006, according to Gartner. 

"Microsoft Windows Mobile licensees accounted for nearly 3,2-million PDA shipments in the first quarter of 2007, or more than 60% of all PDA shipments in the quarter," says Todd Kort, principal research analyst in Gartner's Client Computing group.
"This strong growth was surprising because Windows Mobile 6 will launch in the second quarter, accompanied by the launch of many new and improved models. Normally, consumers and businesses have constrained their purchases when upgrades are imminent."
Research In Motion continued to lead the PDA market but its product mix has shifted toward smartphones, with the BlackBerry Pearl representing about 55% of RIM's total shipments in the first quarter of 2007. As such, RIM's PDA shipments were essentially flat.
Gartner analysts say RIM's PDA shipments should grow through the remainder of 2007 as the new 88xx and 83xx models replace the 87xx.
Mio Technology, the leading Microsoft licensee, shipped nearly 568 000 PDAs, all with integrated GPS capability. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) accounted for 57% of Mio's shipments, driven by sales of the C510 and C250 car navigation devices into Southern European countries.
Samsung, Sharp and Nokia round out the top five vendors in the first quarter of 2007 with market shares of 8,8%, 8,5% and 6,2%, respectively.
Samsung benefited from a strong marketing effort led by Cingular to promote the BlackJack, seen by many as a low-cost alternative to the BlackBerry. Palm continued its focus on the smartphone market and dropped out the top five in the PDA market in the first quarter of 2007. Palm shipped 297 000 PDAs in the first quarter and ranked seventh in global PDA shipments.
Windows Mobile PDA OS shipments surpassed 3,1-million units accounting for 62,1% of shipments in the first quarter of 2007. RIM was the nearest competitor with 18,1% market share.
"With Windows Mobile device shipments up over 1,2-million units from the first quarter of 2006, Microsoft has achieved a dominant position in the market for data-centric devices. However, Microsoft has faltered in the much larger smartphone market," says Kort. "The reverse is true for Symbian and Nokia. RIM seems to be the only company making a balanced effort, although it still has a lot of catching up to do in the smartphone market."
Gartner Dataquest defines a PDA as a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than 1 pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open-market OS supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant-on/off capability and synchronisation of files with a PC.
Smartphones offer all the attributes of a PDA, except that smartphones are voice-centric with data access as a secondary capability, and are designed for primarily one-handed operation.