Two Studies Offer Oddly Conflicting Findings

A study recently conducted by research firm IDC found that more and more vertical markets are deploying mobile solutions, however, another recent IDC study showed that sales of mobile devices slipped 6 percent in the third quarter of 2003. In addition, IDC found that certain vertical markets favor certain mobile operating systems. For example, the Palm OS remains entrenched in healthcare, education, and government segments, while Windows CE/Pocket PC is the preferred platform for mobility solutions within field sales, field service, and utilities segments. "Vertical markets tend to be earlier adopters of mobile technology and mobility solutions, because they tend to take advantage of functions that are offered," says Randy Giusto, vice president of personal technology and services at IDC. "These markets are a major force in driving the extension of CRM applications to mobile environments, as well as the adoption of wireless networks." Although market penetration and adoption of mobile solutions has increased, worldwide handheld device shipments declined from 2.59 million units in the third quarter of 2001 to 2.44 million units in third-quarter 2002, according to IDC. "The demand for handheld devices remained soft during the third quarter due to weak economies in most regions," says Weili Su, senior analyst in IDC's Smart Handheld Devices service. "For the upcoming holiday season we expect worldwide market growth to remain flat or slightly down, from a year-on-year perspective." Su says that Palm continues to dominate the market, while Sony has edged out HP in the last quarter to become the second-highest-selling mobile device brand on the market.
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