In a long, painful, 13-quarter game of Battleship, smartphones have slowly been decimating the PDA fleet. (While the report cites “handheld devices” as in decline, which BlackBerry could conceivably fall under, make no mistake – they’re talking PDAs and anything that doesn’t qualify as a smartphone.)
The worldwide handheld device market opened the year with its thirteenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline as user interest continued to transition towards converged mobile devices and other consumer electronics devices. According to IDC, vendors shipped just over 900,000 handheld devices in the first quarter of 2007, 36.3% less than the previous quarter and 40.6% less than the same quarter a year ago.
Dell has retreated from the market, tail between its legs, which should only hasten the downward spiral of handheld devices. Palm’s done best of the batch in Q1, and even they’re looking at a -37.8% decline in growth versus last year. The big lesson from these numbers? Convergence is king. If other devices can pack more than you into fewer products, then you’re left in the dust.