Sales of BlackBerry devices increased by more than 30 per cent in the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same period last year, according to new data from Gartner. RIM sold 930,000 of its mobile email devices between January and March this year, helping the overall market for PDAs to grow 6.6 per cent to 3.7 million units. The BlackBerry currently commands 20.7 per cent of the worldwide PDA market.
Second place went to Palm, which saw shipments decline by 25.2 per cent, marking the lowest level since 1998. The company has shifted its attention from the traditional Palm unconnected devices to the Treo mobile phone devices. The Treo falls outside Gartner’s definition of a PDA and qualifies as a smartphone. But the analyst firm noted that Treo shipments reached 581,000 for the quarter, with an estimated 20 per cent of those being the new Windows-powered Treo 700w.
The BlackBerry 71xx models were also counted as smartphones so were not factored into RIM’s final numbers. Sales figures for the Blackberry 71xx series were 517,000.
Windows Mobile supplied more than half the market for the first time. The Microsoft operating system powered 52.6 per cent of all the devices shipped, leading RIM’s 25.5 per cent and Palm OS which gained 13.4 per cent.