Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Difference Between Smart Phones & PDAs

Smartphones combine cell phone and PDA benefits.

A Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is a handheld electronic device used to access the Internet, send email and organize information. These devices were popular in the 1990s, with the most prominent example being the Palm Pilot. In 2000, Microsoft's Pocket PC overtook the Palm Pilot. Smartphones first appeared in 1993 with the IBM Simon, an unwieldy behemoth that cost $900! Smartphones continued to develop through the early 2000s with the advent of the Palm Treo and the Blackberry, but the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007 began the true era of smart phone usage.

Traditionally PDAs do not have phone services. They are used mainly for storage, organization and creation of word processing and spreadsheet data. PDAs usually require a stylus. Many devices have Internet access and the ability to send and receive email, in addition to up to 64 MB Ram. Bluetooth is also on-board, as is a music player. No contracts are necessary since Internet access is solely through WiFi connectivity. PDAs are not manufactured extensively, but those that are still available such as the HP iPAQ 111 bill themselves as a companion to the cell phone.

Cellphones were firrt used only to send and receive phone calls. The smartphone became a one-device solution to the cell phone and the PDA. They do not require a stylus; some like Apple's iPhone offer a touch screen keyboard, while others like the HTC Evo feature a full miniature QWERTY keyboard. Smartphones usually have built-in cameras, some with video capability, and music players. Most smartphones are controlled by swiping your fingers across the screen. Smartphones have both wireless and cellular access, so a contract with a carrier is required for full use. Bluetooth and GPS functions are also included on smartphones. A recent trend, starting with the iPhone and continuing with the Android is the widespread use of apps.

Third-party applications (apps) are one of the main factors that set the smartphone and the PDA apart. Apps are available for such diverse functions as finance, reference, productivity, music, games and social networking. These apps give smartphones many more uses than were available on even the most sophisticated PDAs.
The Future

Smartphone pundits predict a bright future for the product. Some of the forecasts include the smartphone replacing credit cards, ATMs and even money itself. In Japan, smartphones operate a number of other devices such as vending machines and commuter and subway train admittance. Smartphones are truly the evolutionary successor to the PDA.


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