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What An Ideal PDA Should Be

May 6, 2008
The must-have features of PDAs in today's market.

PDAs, or Personal Digital Assistants, have quickly evolved in recent years from mere handheld electronic organizers to gizmos with the ability to manage emails, send instant messaging, and even play media files like mp3s and video. With the help of technological advances in electronics and mobile communication, PDAs these days have become smaller, lighter, and armed with more uses than your Swiss army knife.

A vast majority of new model PDAs utilise one of two major OS (operating system) provided by either Palm OS or Microsoft's ever popular Windows Mobile OS. Other operating systems are also used, yet these two rule the OS market. The users' needs actually determines which OS best fits their PDA. Palm OS offers a simpler approach, compared to MS Windows Mobile OS which basically looks like an exponentially compressed version of the desktop Windows OS. Windows Mobile OS can run multiple programs simultaneously, although only one application can be shown on the screen at one time.

Bright color screens have become a common sight in PDAs, even for low-end models. Even so, another attribute, screen resolution, has been used to differentiate one PDA from another. Windows Mobile displays has once claimed to have the highest-resolution screens available in the market with a 320- by -240- pixel resolution, up until Palm OS- powered PDAs started offering 320- by -320 or even 320- by -480- pixel resolution screens. Both screen resolutions are still marked as good, compared to standard or old models showing only 160- by -160. Whatever the resolution is in a PDA, it is still advisable to check the unit out, in person, before considering buying one to make sure that the PDA will show images that are as sharp and crisp as possible.

Modern PDAs are now with built-in batteries that can be recharged by placing the unit in a specially- modified docking cradle, which is being sold together with the unit, or simply by connecting the PDA by means of a syncing/ recharging cord. The battery's life is basically dependent on the PDAs screen size, resolution and its relative brightness. Other factors include certain applications being run, like a music/ video player, or when utilising mobile connectivity devices, like Wi-Fi (Wireless Frequency) and/ or Bluetooth.

New models of PDAs are now equipped with cameras like ones in camera phones. PDA cameras enable users to take photos of any object in moderate lighting. Picture resolution ranges from 640 by 480 pixels (VGA) to 3 or even 5 MP (Megapixels) in some newer units. Previous devices have built in LED flash in to light up the scene. But high end models these days are now equipped with Xenon Flash, making picture taking with PDAs battery - friendly.

GPS (Global Positioning System) also became popular with PDAs, as makers like HP (Hewlett - Packard), Pharos, and Garmin International started creating models with built - in GPS receivers together with navigation software designed to provide maps and voice-based directions. PDA makers don't normally provide models with both integrated GPS and Wi-Fi, but more and more companies are starting to put these two technologies together in a single unit together with Bluetooth and cell phone radios too.

Going back to choosing the best PDA, the best basis of selecting a PDA is how the buyer intends to use it. Everything will come down to the person's needs, the very reason why numerous models of PDAs are created with a wide variety of features to serve them better.
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