updated 10/21/2004 4:46:32 PM ET 2004-10-21T20:46:32

Sharp Electronics Corp. plans to stop selling its Linux-based handheld computer in the United States, another sign of the slowing market for personal digital assistants.

The New Jersey-based subsidiary of Sharp Corp. said the company will continue to sell PDAs in its home market of Japan but "has made a business decision to cycle out of business development activities for the Zaurus SL6000" in the U.S. market.

Sharp, which introduced its Zaurus PDA in 2002, did not further explain its decision.  However, analyst research shows that Linux-based organizers have not caught on with consumers in a market dominated by handhelds running operating systems from PalmSource Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Also, sales of basic PDAs are slowing down while sales of its smart-phone cousins are rising.  Smart phones are handhelds that combine cell phone and PDA organizer features.

In all of 2003, worldwide sales of conventional PDAs without phone functions slipped 18 percent, according to IDC.

Two other electronics giants, Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., announced similar PDA withdrawals from the U.S. market earlier this year.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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