Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), also known as handheld or palmtop computer is a handheld device electronic organizer or day planner that is portable, easy to use and capable of sharing information with the PC. It is considered to be an extension of the PC, and not a replacement. The original PDAs were used only to keep address, phone, task lists and calendar, but the modern PDAs can also function as a cellular phone, fax and provide Internet connectivity and much more.
Types Of PDA
There are mainly two types of PDAs, hand-held computers and palm-sized computers. The major differences between the two are size, display and mode of data entry.
Hand-held computers: are larger and heavier; have larger liquid crystal displays (LCD) and use a miniature keyboard, usually in combination with touch-screen technology, for data entry.
Palm-sized computers: are smaller and lighter; have smaller LCDs and rely on stylus/touch-screen technology and handwriting recognition programs for data entry.
Features Of PDA
Even the most basic PDAs handle standard personal information management (PIM) functions, run application software and synchronize with PCs. Here are some additional details about these basic features.
- Touch screen – Usually have a detachable stylus that can be used on the touch screen. Interaction now can be done by touching the screen to activate buttons or menu choices and dragging the stylus to highlight or etc.
- Memory cards – Most of the PDAs provide both an SD (Secure Digital) and a Compact Flash cards for Wi-Fi and Webcams. Also, they provide USB port for USB flash drives.
- Wired connectivity - PDAs can be connected via USB cable instead of serial ports or other proprietary format as in the past.
- Wireless connectivity - Most modern PDAs can use Bluetooth wireless, a popular tool for mobile devices. Moreover, it also can be used to connect keyboards, headsets, GPS and many other accessories, as well as sending files between PDAs.
- Synchronization – It allows up-to-date contact information stored on software such as Microsoft Outlook or ACT to keep the database on the PDA up to date. Also it ensures that the PDA has an accurate list of contacts whether or not, ensures appointments and e-mail, and allows the users to access the same information on the PDA which is acting like a host computer.
Before buying a PDA, make sure it has all your requirements and check for the features enlisted above.
Applications Of PDA
PDAs are mainly used to store information, so that the users can access the information at anytime and anywhere:
- Automobile navigation – Most of the PDAs are widely used for car kits and are fitted with differential Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to provide real-time automobile navigation.
- Ruggedized PDAs – Also known as enterprise digital assistants (EDAs) for mobile data applications, they can be used for supply chain management in warehouses, package delivery, route accounting, medical treatment and record keeping in hospitals, parking enforcement, access control and security, meter reading by utilities and “wireless waitress” applications in restaurants and hospitality venues.
- Medical and scientific uses - PDAs can be used as a device to diagnose and select the drugs. Also they can be used for patients in order to record symptoms which effectively help develop communication with hospitals.
Brands Of PDA
A few years back, if you have to buy a little handheld computer, then at that time, the market was dominated by a couple of well-known brands of PDAs, but at present the market is now filled with a wide variety of PDA brands. Some of them are quite famous and almost anyone knows their names, while others a bit less recognizable. A few popular names to include are Dell, Blackberry, Compaq, Toshiba, Nokia and many more.