- A new report from NPD Intelect reveals that Visor, a handheld from upstart
startup Handspring, has now captured 25% of all retail sales in May (up
from 18% in April) of personal digital assistants (PDAs). The Visor has
also maintained its hold on the #2 position (behind Palm, Inc.), surpassing
such established vendors as Casio and Compaq, both sellers of Windows-based
was formed two years ago by CEO Donna Dubinsky, Chief Product Officer
Jeff Hawkins, and Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing Ed Colligan, all of whom
left Palm to form Handspring. Retail market share for Palm, Inc. was 71.7%
in April, dropping slightly to 67% in May. [Source NPD
In approximately two months, Handspring has gone from nothing (except
buzz) to a retail market share approximately three times that of the most
popular Pocket PC. The "new and improved" Pocket PC was only launched
in April, but Visor wasn't around in retail stores before then either,
so Visor's strong showing will probably give Redmond a mild case of the
do not expect Microsoft to be satisfied with this miniscule share of the
market. Their intense efforts to show the world "this time for sure" with
the Pocket PC will doubtless eventually result in increased market share.
In addition, we believe the non-retail sector to have a larger Microsoft
share than is present in retail, since businesses (who tend to purchase
through non-retail channels) tend to go with the perceived "safe" choice.
However, the Palm OS still rules the overall market.
of Handspring's and Palm Computing's biggest potential problems is believing
market share is forever, and the resultant invulnerability delusion, which
we believe was part of Netscape's downfall. Of course, it will be a little
tougher to claim a Pocket PC is an inseparable part of Windows.
other potential problem is the expected cell-phone-as-PDA concept, including
the Symbian alliance. It is too early to tell if that product concept
will be more than hype, though.
Visor has two big pluses, especially when compared to Pocket PC or WinCE-based
devices. The first is availability of thousands of Palm-based applications,
the second is price ($149 base, $249 "deluxe"). Unless users or companies
are committed to being Windows-only, either the Visor or one of Palm Computing's
offerings should handle most of a corporate user's needs.
thing the Visor is lacking, relative to Pocket PC devices, is a color
display. However, color-display MS devices have been out for approximately
a year, Palm OS is still the king of the market, and the Palm IIIc has
a color display. Although we can see some benefit to having a color screen,
each user must decide how important it is.