2/25/2003 - Despite coming off a sluggish year in 2001, vendors of smaller and user-friendlier form factors such as PDA and wearable computers are riding the evolutionary wave to smaller and more functional devices. VDC's "The Global Markets for Rugged Mobile Computers" study indicated that the overall rugged mobile computer market is coming off a down year in 2001, which was largely due to the tragedy of 9/11 and the slowdown in the global economy. However, things on the horizon appear to be looking brighter, especially for vendors of PDA and wearable form factor computers.
PDA and wearable computer form factor shipments are expected to grow, on a dollar volume basis, at a 25% and 35% CAGR through 2007, respectively, states Tim Shea, Senior Industry Analyst and author.
Shea continues, "We are seeing more end users switch from traditional brick/pistol form factors to the PDA as vendors are now offering multi-modal interface capabilities such as integrated bar code scanners, touch displays, and functional keypads, all in a more user-friendly form factor. The cannibalization was even more significant than forseen in our previous market study." However, VDC forecasts the fastest growth for PDA form factor computers to come from emerging markets such as healthcare, finance/insurance, field sales, and other markets in which the end user values the multi-functionality offered by these products.
Shea sees a continued trend towards end users adopting the many benefits of “hands free” computing capabilities being provided by wearable computers. Some of the key factors VDC identified that are driving demand for wearable computers are:
Founded in 1971, VDC is a technology market research and consulting firm that specializes in industrial and commercial electronics, computing, communications, software and power systems markets.
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