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Customers left hunting for PDA accessories

Retailers missing a trick by failing to offer wide range of add-ons for handhelds

PDA users in the UK have difficulty buying dedicated accessories from high street stores, according to a survey by online electrical supplier WithandWithoutWires.com.

"Many high street retailers either don't stock PDA accessories or have a very small selection," said Jonathan Ferman, PDA product manager at Toshiba. "We are working with retailers to [address this issue]."

A massive 89 percent of those surveyed said they had had trouble finding accessories their local stores.

"To date the majority of focus [by retailers] has been on the PDA itself. We are increasingly bundling more of our handheld applications into the box to give the user immediate access and benefit," said Colin Holloway marketing director at Palm UK.

Analysts at IDC (International Data Corporation) predict there will be over 64 million PDA users worldwide by 2004. Which means the market for accessories could be set to boom.

"There are currently an estimated seven million PDA users in the UK alone," said Barry Marsh, spokesman at WithandWithoutWires.com. "High street retailers are not tapping into this growing market because shelf space in stores is at a premium."

According to IDC this handheld accessory business will reach more than £20.3m by 2003.

"Retailers need to realise that PDAs are no longer seen as an electronic toy for the gadget-obsessed. Extended memories, processors, diary synchronisation and wireless connection to internet portal links have given the PDA a place in an increasing number of corporate networks," added Barry.

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