According to the most recent figures from IDC, worldwide shipments of PDAs fell 43.5% from 2006 to 2007. That’s the 15th consecutive quarter of decreasing sales for the industry, according to ars technica. It’s important to note that these figures refer to PDAs, and not to smartphones (which you could argue do roughly the same thing). Ars puts the data into perspective:
In the third quarter, IDC says that 728,000 PDA shipments were made globally. To put this in perspective, consider that Apple sold one million iPhones in only half a quarter, and RIM saw sales of more than three million BlackBerrys for the quarter ended September 1.
It seems as though I was only half right when I wrote this post. Turns out smartphones are more popular than ever, but mobile devices like the Pocket PC are indeed disappearing (save for a few niche markets).
I still think that pocket computing in its current form doesn’t have much of a future. I’m more convinced than ever (thanks to virtualization and other advances) that carrying your entire computer around in your pocket on a memory stick is going to become feasible and desirable. No need for a "pocket" version of everything or synchronization with a mobile device when that arrives.
Of course, it does make sense for some mobile devices to exist. Portable media players come to mind, as do the cell phone + calendar combination devices. I’d also like to see a "OneNote" device…something to replace the pen and paper for quick note taking.
Read: ars technica