How PDAs Work


These Smartphones range in price depending on their features.
These Smartphones range in price depending on their features.
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Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about PDAs.

Why would I need a PDA?

A PDA might be helpful if you:

  • Have a lot of addresses and phone numbers that you need to have with you all the time
  • Have a lot of dates and appointments to keep track of, both personal and business, and need to see at a glance whether you have a conflict when you're trying to set up appointments
  • Have more than one calendar to keep up with
  • Are the busy or forgetful type, and could use automatic reminders of appointments
  • Spend a lot of time away from your desktop or laptop, but still need the information that's stored there
  • Need to check e-mail or access the Internet frequently, even when you're traveling or just away from your computer
  • Can't afford a laptop but need some e-mail or word processing capability away from your desktop
  • Are willing to spend the time to learn how to use your PDA and transfer data to it

How much do PDAs cost?

PDAs range in cost from about $150 to $1,000, depending on the features you decide to buy. Most are in the range of $300 to $500.

Can my PDA work with my desktop or laptop?

PDAs are designed to work with desktops or laptops and to make the information in your bigger computers portable. So you need to keep the information up-to-date. PDAs have features that make this easier for you. The communication between PDA and PC is referred to as data synchronization or syncing. This is typically done through a serial or USB port on the PDA. Some PDAs have a cradle that they sit in while hooked up to the PC. Many PDAs also have an infrared communications port that uses infrared (IR) light to beam information to a PC or another PDA. Some PDAs also offer wireless methods to transfer data to and from a PC/PC network through a wireless e-mail /Internet service provider like those available on new models of cell phones. Finally, some PDAs offer telephone modem accessories to transfer files to and from a PC/PC network.

Which operating system is best for PDAs?

Each operating system has its advantages. The Palm OS is the market leader, so there is a lot of software written and being developed for it. But developers are working on software for the PocketPC systems, too. Palm OS takes up less memory and runs faster, and users say it is easier to use. PocketPC easily supports color displays, graphics, standard Windows packages (Word, Excel), and other devices (such as built-in MP3 players or MPEG movie players). PocketPC takes up more memory and is slower, and users say it is more complicated.