Multi-function Handhelds

[via Smart Mobs] Investor’s Business Daily writes how the smartphones, which combine handheld computers and mobile phones, will have a breakout year in 2004:

“The big story (in 2003 was) that people finally started to get smart phones right,” said Peter Rojas, editor of Gizmodo, which bills itself as the gadgets Weblog. “They still have a long way to go. But the first smart phones that you’d actually want to use came out (in 2003).”

Those devices include PalmOne Inc.’s (PLMO) Treo 600 and smart phones using Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile software, including Motorola Inc.’s (MOT) MPX 200 and Samsung Electronics Co.’s i600.

Such combination cell phone-personal digital assistants are “going to be hot items” in 2004, said Tim Bajarin, president of consulting firm Creative Strategies Inc. of Campbell, Calif.

Mobile business users will form the initial customer base for smart phones, because the devices help with communications and productivity, he says.

About 8.7 million converged devices were sold worldwide last year, IDC says. That number should reach 20.7 million in 2004, it says. That’s a much faster pace than mobile phones. IDC sees 595 million cell phone sales this year, up from 510 million in 2003.

What’s exciting gadget buyers the most? Camera phones.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.