Shipments of PDAs have dropped to the lowest levels in five years, with shipments in 2004 falling 13 percent. 2004 was the first year since 1999 that worldwide handheld device shipments slipped to under 10 million units.

PDA makers struggle to get a grip on dramatically declining sales of their handhelds and convince customers to buy the once hyped devices. IDC said the market experienced its fourth successive quarter of year-over-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2004. Despite shipments increased 37.4 percent sequentially, the year-over-year drop was 18.7 percent. For the full year 2004, worldwide handheld device shipments reached 9.2 million units, a decrease of 13% over 2003's shipments of 10.6 million units.

Some explanation may lie in that fact that vendors such as Sony and Toshiba left the market in the past year, resulting in increased competition and a quest for the relevance of the traditional handheld device. The availability of more and more cheap laptops may have also not helped matters.