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Study charts sharp rise in handheld sales

A new study reports that even though consumers spent less on PCs last year, they shelled out plenty for handhelds.

Though consumers spent less on personal computers last year, they shelled out generously for handhelds, according to a study.

Handheld computer manufacturers sold 3.5 million devices in 2000, up from 1.3 million in 1999, and raked in $1.03 billion in 2000--more than twice the $436.5 million sold the year before, according to a study by Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Intelect.

The survey highlights the soaring popularity of PDAs (personal digital assistants) made by companies such as Palm, Handspring and Casio, in contrast with falling sales of personal computers.

NPD also found that the average selling price of handhelds dropped from $323.98 in 1999 to $293.51 in 2000, an indication of the growing popularity of entry-level models such as Palm's m100 and the impact of price cuts to spur holiday sales.

The rise in handheld sales comes as PC and software makers warn about lower earnings and slumping product sales. Last week, Dataquest reported that the PC market for this year grew just 10.3 percent in the United States and 14.5 percent worldwide.