Together with the refreshed Pocket PC software, Microsoft also announced Gateway Inc. and Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. (JVC) as new hardware partners. Each will be releasing devices with the new software by the end of the year, Microsoft said.
Existing partners including Toshiba Corp., Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) will have devices running Windows Mobile 2003 software available on Monday, coinciding with Microsoft's announcement. These devices will be PDAs without phone features. Phone-PDAs will be out later this year, Microsoft said.
Even though the worldwide PDA market has suffered six consecutive quarterly year-over-year declines, Microsoft is gaining market share over PalmSource, Gartner's Kort said.
In 2000, the Palm operating system was installed on 65.5 percent of PDAs shipped, while Microsoft's Windows CE was only on 12 percent of units shipped. In 2002, Palm's share had dropped to 55.1 percent, while Microsoft's share jumped to 25.8 percent, according to Kort.
"What is happening is that the consumer side of the market, the Palm side, has been declining. The enterprise side of the market has been growing, and that side is split between Palm and Microsoft, but because vendors like HP, Dell and Toshiba are enterprise players, Microsoft is gaining ground there," Kort said.
Business PDA buyers, although still a minority, prefer Microsoft over Palm because of the stability of the platform and the similarity of the devices sold using it, Kort said.