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PDA, RIP
economist ^ | Oct 16th 2003

Posted on 10/20/2003 6:30:13 AM PDT by stainlessbanner

The next big thing that wasn't---or was it?

IS IT time to declare the demise of the handheld computer, also known as the personal digital assistant (PDA)? A lot of people suddenly think so, for despite high hopes that the devices---made by such firms as Palm, Sony, HP and Dell---would someday become ubiquitous, annual sales have stayed flat at around 11m units worldwide. This compares poorly with PCs, around 130m of which are sold every year, and mobile phones, with sales of around 460m units. ---The PDA market will never be a mass market,--- says Cindy Wolf, an analyst at In-Stat/MDR, a market-research firm. Almost everyone who wants a PDA, she says, now has one.

In contrast, sales of smartphones, high-powered mobile handsets capable of doing most things PDAs can do, are rising fast. Smartphones can be used to store addresses and phone numbers, download small pieces of software (such as games), browse the internet while on the move, store and play music, and jot down brief messages. And, of course, they are also telephones. Why carry both a phone and a PDA around, when you can carry a single hybrid device? Fewer than 4m smartphones were sold during 2002, but nearly 12m will be sold this year, says Neil Strother of In-Stat/MDR. Although final sales figures are not yet available, it seems very likely that sales of smartphones overtook sales of PDAs in the third quarter of this year.

---The PDA is dead,--- says David Levin, the boss of Symbian, the leading maker of smartphone software. Anssi Vanjoki of Nokia, the world's biggest mobile-phone maker, agrees. PDAs without wireless connectivity are doomed, he says. Even as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and other handset makers build PDA-like functions into their smartphones, some PDA makers are adding phone capability to their handhelds.The two camps have arrived at the same result---a hybrid PDA-phone---from opposite directions.

David Nagel of PalmSource, the firm that licenses the Palm operating system to makers of phones and PDAs, dismisses the idea that one camp or the other has won. To say that there is a single ---killer device--- is, he says, an oversimplification, for there is room for a whole range of PDA-like devices in the marketplace---of which smartphones, in his view, are just one kind. PalmSource is, he says, well placed to compete with Symbian and Microsoft to provide the software to power pocket-sized devices.

This much is clear: handheld computers must be phones too, if they are to sell in any quantity. PDAs of the traditional type, which do not double as phones, are condemned to remain a tiny niche. But whether the sudden rise of the smartphone constitutes the death of the PDA, or its triumph by other means, is a matter of opinion. In other words, the PDA is dead---long live the PDA.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: cellphone; mindspring; palmpilot; pda; smartphone; technology; wife

1 posted on 10/20/2003 6:30:13 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
They cost too much for what they do, but they are cute toys.
2 posted on 10/20/2003 6:33:32 AM PDT by madison10
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To: stainlessbanner
PDAs of the traditional type, which do not double as phones, are condemned to remain a tiny niche.

A niche for those of us who do not want our private files accessible by others via "connectivity." Some things should be kept separate.

3 posted on 10/20/2003 6:34:08 AM PDT by Young Rhino (Do the French know the meaning of the words soap, water, and deodorant?)
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To: stainlessbanner
Gee...I'm sitting in a boring Monday morning staff meeting, writing this post on my wireless PDA. I love this thing. Just call me a bronze age dinosaur.
4 posted on 10/20/2003 6:39:29 AM PDT by meowmeow (Freepin' wireless, baby!)
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To: stainlessbanner
Smart phones can also take and transmit photos, which PDAs can't.
5 posted on 10/20/2003 6:41:21 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: stainlessbanner
Smardphones ARE pda's. The microsoft pocketpc phone combination is excellent. If you really want to find out about some of this stuff go to http://pocketpcthoughts.com or http://pocketpcpassion.com the latter is pretty good.
6 posted on 10/20/2003 6:42:25 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: stainlessbanner
I tossed my Cassiopia PDA a year ago, and went back to a daytimer. With a written calendar, I don't have to worry when I drop it, I don't have to take time to boot it up, I don't lose data when my batteries run dry, I don't have to worry about scratching the screen, I don't have to worry about accidental erasures, I don't have to learn a new way of writing, and I don't have to worry about connectivity problems with my ports.
7 posted on 10/20/2003 6:44:07 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
my pda has a camera, my pda has a chip I can put hours of music, my pda hooks up to my car stereo.

This is just a puff piece. The combination of the two devices is old news. It is inevitable that the two would combine. Whatever marketing calls them, they a useful ways to deal with data.
8 posted on 10/20/2003 6:46:04 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: meowmeow
Woohoo! Anyone fall asleep yet at the dreaded "Monday morning staff meeting"? Hehehe!! Anything exciting going on?? Hehehe!
9 posted on 10/20/2003 6:48:54 AM PDT by MoJo2001 (God Bless Our Troops and Allies!!)
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To: stainlessbanner
"In other words, the PDA is dead "

After 4 years my Palm Vx finally quit holding a charge. I replaced it with a Hi-Res color CLIE'.

When this one dies, I'll get another. In other words the PDA is not dead.
10 posted on 10/20/2003 6:50:27 AM PDT by showme_the_Glory (No more rhyming, and I mean it! ..Anybody got a peanut.....)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
Hear hear. I still take notes on a legal pad - I've lost more pdas than I care to admit. (original sharp zaurus user)
11 posted on 10/20/2003 6:51:22 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: meowmeow
writing this post on my wireless PDA

....And the boss thinks your taking meeting notes!

12 posted on 10/20/2003 6:53:40 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
Cassiopia used natural language for input.

I still use mine.

It should be noted that symbian, major comentator here, tried the pda market but was drowned out.

I actual have one of his phones, the symbian system is waaaay too limiting.

Of course microsoft teamed with motorola (who licenses to nokia) for a reason.
13 posted on 10/20/2003 6:54:56 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: longtermmemmory
In the end, mine was clunky. The contacts on the drop in had to be jiggled every time, and finally, no matter how many times I tried reinstalling CE services, this computer stopped recognition of the serial port while the thing was plugged in.

Bleah - no more for me.

14 posted on 10/20/2003 6:58:26 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
That's not true.
15 posted on 10/20/2003 7:02:15 AM PDT by Bikers4Bush
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
my brick is still going, but casio did get out of the pda market. A constant problem with casio, bad support for their products.
16 posted on 10/20/2003 7:03:51 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
With a written calendar, I don't have to worry when I drop it, I don't have to take time to boot it up, I don't lose data when my batteries run dry, I don't have to worry about scratching the screen, I don't have to worry about accidental erasures, I don't have to learn a new way of writing, and I don't have to worry about connectivity problems with my ports.

Just hope you don't misplace your daytimer or someone steals it having your private information in plain view without password protection. You can't exactly buy a new daytimer and sync it then continue where you had left off. Going back to paper is tempting for me too, but it has its drawbacks as well.

17 posted on 10/20/2003 7:04:33 AM PDT by disclaimer
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To: stainlessbanner
I liked the Sharp Wizards with keyboards. Since mine died, I have had trouble finding a new one, except on EBay, where the collectors seem to be grabbing them up.
18 posted on 10/20/2003 7:06:31 AM PDT by Jack Wilson
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To: disclaimer
I double up the info. If I have an entry in the daytime, I put it into Outlook as well. And I keep no credit card, banking or critical personal stuff in the daytimer.

Also, I can say I haven't lost any calendar over the past 15 years.

19 posted on 10/20/2003 7:07:10 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: stainlessbanner
I am too disorganized to use an electronic organizer!

Oh, I bought one: a neat Handspring monochrome thin thing. It never leaves its cradle.

My being disorganized is a good thing: if I ever got my act together, I'd take over the world.

--Boris

20 posted on 10/20/2003 7:13:48 AM PDT by boris (The deadliest Weapon of Mass Destruction in History is a Leftist With a Word Processor)
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To: stainlessbanner
The people making them assumed that everbody didn't keep track of everything in life because of bad memory and poor orginazition.

I guess they never figured that a good chunk of the population just doesn't give a damn.
21 posted on 10/20/2003 7:14:56 AM PDT by ItsTheMediaStupid
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
I won a Sony Clie thingamajig at a conference recently. I can't imagine what I'm going to do with it. I'll likely just put phone numbers on it, along with some games. I'm hardly ever out of the office, so I don't have much need for one.
22 posted on 10/20/2003 7:19:49 AM PDT by wimpycat (Down with Kooks and Kookery!)
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To: stainlessbanner
I don't need a PDA, my wife knows EVERYTHING!
23 posted on 10/20/2003 7:20:11 AM PDT by Fierce Allegiance
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To: wimpycat
You should find people who have compatible machines and have them beam you over some games. Dope Wars is a great one to play when you're bored (you get to be a dealer, and manage your empire, make deals, get busted, etc. Every cop I know has it.
24 posted on 10/20/2003 7:21:39 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
My piano teacher has a metronome on hers.
25 posted on 10/20/2003 7:25:25 AM PDT by wimpycat (Down with Kooks and Kookery!)
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
What I don't like about this gadget is that Sony has an introductory tour on the internet, but for anything beyond the most basic functions, you have to pay $9.95 to get the "advanced" handbook. (Mine didn't come with an owner's manual in the box.) Then they have all this software that you have to pay for to download. Are there any good sites where I can get freeware?
26 posted on 10/20/2003 7:30:22 AM PDT by wimpycat (Down with Kooks and Kookery!)
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To: stainlessbanner
The Economist has confused the label with the substance. PDAs will almost certainly have new functions and designs in five years, and will probably called by another name. Big flippin' deal.
27 posted on 10/20/2003 7:32:33 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: stainlessbanner
This much is clear: handheld computers must be phones too, if they are to sell in any quantity.

Well, I guess the point is: people don't want to be lugging a bunch of hardware around with them everywhere they go. Their first choice is a cell phone, and all else come in a very distant second. If the phone can do more, that's just swell. But it's got to be a phone, first and foremost.

28 posted on 10/20/2003 7:34:18 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: Fierce Allegiance
I don't need a PDA, my wife knows EVERYTHING!

LOL! Good one!

Mine does, too, and has automatic reminders!

29 posted on 10/20/2003 7:36:13 AM PDT by Ulysses
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To: longtermmemmory
my brick is still going, but casio did get out of the pda market.

I love my Casio G-shock watch "PDA." It holds 100 phone numbers and 100 appointments (with alarm), as well as the usual watch functions. The great thing about it is that I never lose it. And I can time it to beep with the message "GET MILK AND EGGS" as I'm about to drive by the grocery store on the way home, thus saving my marriage ;-)

30 posted on 10/20/2003 7:36:15 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: meowmeow
Gee...I'm sitting in a boring Monday morning staff meeting, writing this post on my wireless PDA.

Haven't you figured out how to use that thing to get you out of those meetings in the first place? ;)

31 posted on 10/20/2003 7:36:22 AM PDT by general_re ("I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.")
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To: stainlessbanner
What I'm looking for is a smartphone/pda with a "push to talk" feature like that offered by Nextel or Verizon. I don't want that clunky Blackberry thing that their pushing either. I'm sure that it's coming, but until then I'll stay with my Kyocera Smartphone.
32 posted on 10/20/2003 8:05:33 AM PDT by Tallguy (Leave the gun, take the cannoli...)
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To: boris
Oh, I bought one: a neat Handspring monochrome thin thing. It never leaves its cradle.

When my last pda broke, (and stole everything with its failure mode), I looked around for a pda that worked like a phone. They did not make them then, so I just went with a phone. Then I retired, and now I can't remember why I would want a pda anyway.

33 posted on 10/20/2003 8:42:28 AM PDT by KC_for_Freedom (Sailing the highways of America, and loving it.)
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To: stainlessbanner
Tomorrow's headline today:

PDA's DOA PDQ!


34 posted on 10/20/2003 8:47:14 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Far out, man!)
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To: stainlessbanner
I believe Apple pioneered the PDA. Whatever became of them, and will the same thing happen to the $500 iPod?
35 posted on 10/20/2003 8:48:05 AM PDT by js1138
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To: governsleastgovernsbest
Smart phones can also take and transmit photos, which PDAs can't.

My Sony Clie can take pictures, play MP3's, connect via WiFi, record voice, etc....

36 posted on 10/20/2003 8:53:00 AM PDT by CheneyChick (Let the Hauskleaning Begin)
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To: Revolting cat!
delivered by PSA
37 posted on 10/20/2003 8:55:17 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: stainlessbanner
The PDA is dead,--- says David Levin, the boss of Symbian, the leading maker of smartphone software

Gee do you think he might be a little biased? He's hoping and praying for its demise. I love my PDA.

Ok you smartphone users, try downloading a book into your smartphone and reading it on a three hour airplane flight and see if your battery is still functioning when you land. Oh, I forgot, you can't turn your phone on while you're on a plane. Never mind.

38 posted on 10/20/2003 8:57:35 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (Milquetoast Q. Whitebread is alive!)
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To: stainlessbanner; madison10; Chancellor Palpatine
>I still take notes on a legal pad

My PDA costs
99¢ and handles
text and graphics great!

39 posted on 10/20/2003 9:26:26 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: CheneyChick
Live and learn!
40 posted on 10/20/2003 9:59:24 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
I thought the same thing until my daytimer was stolen and with it a great deal of information such as private phone numbers that can't be replaced. I am now a PDA user with day sync so I have two copies of everything.

I am looking forward to carrying a PDA/phone instead of a PDA and a phone.
41 posted on 10/20/2003 10:08:16 AM PDT by resistance
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To: stainlessbanner
I have had both a Palm and a PocketPC-based PDA, and I am very technologically adept. But I couldn't bring myself to use them on a regular basis. It was just so much easier to put things in a day planner.

The only use I ever had for the PDA, besides a quick way to check e-mail, was to be the one main place where I put phone numbers and addresses. My cell phone stores all of that info now, so it's all I need.
42 posted on 10/20/2003 10:12:25 AM PDT by July 4th
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