What You Need to Know About a Personal Digital Assistant
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are handheld computers that are small in size so it can be brought when a person needs to go places. Also known as a “small computer,” “palmtop computers,” “palm tops,” “palms” and “palm pilots,” the PDA enables someone to do things that can be done using a personal computer.
Today, more and more manufacturers come up with newer models that have modern and updated features. These changes come in sizes, colors, and audio capabilities of the PDA. In fact, in the market today, most of the models have colored touch screens, higher definition of and audio components, and lighter, slimmer appearance.
Majority of which can also be double as a mobile phone, a portable media player with high storage capacity, and can even serve as a web browser because they can have access to the Internet through built-in intranets and extranets, through wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), and through Wireless Wide-Area Networks (WWANs).
Although there are so many guides in using PDA, it greatly helps a lot if the user finds time to know its history and the movement of its progression. Did you know that the very first PDA was released 21 years ago? In May 1983, the CASIO PF-3000 released by GO Corp. penetrated the market and made the breakthrough. But, its fame did not materialize until John Sculley, the Chief Executive Officer of Apple used the term “PDA” at the Consumer Electronics Show which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1992, referring to the “Apple Newton.”
What makes that PDA a hit is that its touch screen means of entering any data, the large capacity of data storage through the memory card, and wireless connectivity such Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and IrDA. One unique feature about PDAs is that its software enables it to have a customized calendar for appointments and scheduled activities, an organized “to-do-list”, an easy to use address book that has large capacity of memory for saving names and other details of contacts as well as a program that lets you take down some notes.
But, what makes it truly a hit for many people is its touch screen feature. Even the first batches of palms have touch screens for user interaction. This feature only has a few numbers of buttons that serve as shortcuts for specific programs. Although touch screen phones can operate using the bare hands, manufacturers came up with a “stylus” to make the touch screen feature more effective. Here, interaction is made easier and faster by just tapping the screen itself for the menu choices to appear. And just by tapping the screen, the stylus can easily activate the buttons you need for any program to work.
Aside from the touch screen feature, PDAs also have stroke recognition wherein there are a predetermined number of strokes which corresponds to the characters needed to be used. Other PDAs—especially those that are being used purely for business purposes—offer thumb or scroll wheels as well as full keyboards to make entering the data and navigation easier and more accurate.
For the personal digital assistant to work, it needs an operating system or OS. This is predetermined depending on the maker of the PDA.
Common PDA operating systems include the PalmSource’s “Palm OS”, Microsoft’s “Windows Mobile Professional” and “Classic” for Pocket PCs, Apple Inc.’s “iPhone OS”, and Research In Motion’s “BlackBerry OS” among others.