MOBILE ‘NET ACCESS RISING

NEW YORK — Mobile access to the Internet, instant messaging, music and more are seen spurring a nearly fivefold runup in worldwide sales of smart handheld devices by 2004, creating a market for those products valued at approximately $26 billion.
That forecast was made Monday by Framingham, Mass.-based marketing consultant IDC, which expects sales of smart handheld devices like mobile phones, personal digital assistants and pagers to hit 63.4 million units by 2004, up from the 12.9 million it said were sold last year. And although PDAs like Palm Pilots and Blackberrys accounted for 73 percent of shipments of smart handheld devices in 2000, IDC predicted in its new report on smart handheld devices that mobile phones will mark the fastest growth in the segment, achieving sales of 23 million units by 2004, at a compound annual growth rate of 164 percent versus that of 48 percent for the sector overall.

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