Gartner fuddles with PDA numbers

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GartnerWorldwide analyst Gartner just recently released metrics on PDA shipments during the second quarter of this year. According to Gartner, worldwide PDA shipments totaled 3.7 million units in the second quarter of 2006, a 2.7% increase from the second quarter of 2005. Gartner attributes PDA growth to the addition of new vendors who weren’t present in the first-tier last year (Mio Technology, Motorola and Danger Research) because the majority of last year’s first-tier vendors (Notably RIM, Palm, Dell and HP) showed declining numbers.

However, BlackBerry Cool is going to recommend that our lovely readers mostly ignore Gartner’s findings because they’re very misleading. For example, they report that RIM showed a decline of 1.1% from Q2 2005 to Q2 2006. However, RIM shipped 1.3 million BlackBerrys during Q2 2006, a 41% jump from last year. The disparity? Gartner isn’t accounting for the 467,000 71xx models RIM shipped because they’re “smartphones.”

Even wonkier numbers come from Palm. Apparently, Palm’s PDA shipments declined 27% from the same period last year. However, Gartner analysts pointed out that this wasn’t such a bad performance considering that Palm has not introduced any new PDAs since late 2005. Wait a minute, what about the Treo? Oh yeah, it’s not considered a PDA either, and the 656,000 Palm shipped during the period don’t count.

BlackBerry Cool has to ask: what is the value of reporting these metrics if they do not factor in two major releases from two of the biggest handset vendors on your list? You can find Gartner’s requirements to be considered a PDA below.

Gartner defines a PDA as a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than one pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open market operating system supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices. Smartphones offer all the attributes of a PDA, except that smartphones are voice-centric and are designed for primarily a one-handed operation.