According to a study by PC Data, Compaq's share of the U.S. handheld computer market continued to grow in January, thanks to strong sales of its iPaq PocketPC device. But Compaq--and the rest of the PocketPC market--continues to be handily outsold by devices powered by the Palm OS. Despite losing ground to rival machines, the Palm OS still accounts for over 86 percent of the market.
Compaq's share of the market doubled between December and January, from 2 percent to 4.1 percent. Likewise, the overall PocketPC market saw strong growth as well, jumping from 6 percent to 10 percent in the same time period. This wasn't enough to put a huge dent in the Palm OS, however: While Palm Inc.'s share of the overall handheld computer market slid from 65 percent to 60 percent, rival Handspring, which also markets devices based on the Palm OS, jumped to over 26 percent of the market.
While the Palm OS has dominated the handheld PC market for the past few years, the next generation of devices--many based on cell phones or offering cellular phone capabilities--may very well upset this situation. Just this week, Microsoft formally introduced its "Stinger" software for the next generation of smart phones, which is based on the software that powers the PocketPC. A number of other companies are also working on similar devices, which hope to marry the PIM capabilities of today's handhelds with cell phones,