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« Reflecting and Digesting in an Info-Overloaded World | Main | An Interview with PDA 24/7's Shaun McGill »

What Exactly is a PDA Anyway?

Reading through Shaun's interview and seeing his comments about the future of PDAs, my thoughts turned to the Smartphones vs. PDA issue yesterday. Seems that lately it's quite fashionable to predict that the Smartphone will surpass the "PDA" in the years to come.

I now think that this in fact is the wrong way of looking at the situation when the a deeper question really is: What exactly is a PDA anyway?

I mean, PDA has become synonymous with a Palm OS or Pocket PC handheld device, but is that a correct definition? After all, "Personal Digital Assistant" is a very broad term, which in my opinion, could easily cover a Smartphone. Even "handheld" is an incredibly broad term, which to me means any device that's hand-held.

In a broad sense, Personal Digital Assistant could really mean many things: a "PDA" might mean a Smartphone, a mobile phone, a Blackberry, an iPod with read-only data, a Palm or Pocket PC device, or maybe even a digital voice recorder. Any of these digital devices could certainly be considered by someone a Personal Digital Assistant, right?

My point is simply this: if a Personal Digital Assistant is such a broad term, should the discussion really be framed in how the "PDA" is evolving, rather than the idea of Smartphones winning and PDAs losing?

Just some food for thought. :-)

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