What is a PDA Cell Phone

A PDA is a personal digital assistant. The first one made was a CASIO PF-3000, which was sold in May of 1983. GO Corp. was also working on a PDA at that time. These original units were limited to keeping address, calendar, task and phone lists. At the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January of 1992, The term PDA was officially coined by Apple computer CEO John Scully, when he was referring to the Apple Newton.

Who brought the first phone out?

Nokia brought out the first mobile phone with a full PDA in 1996. This model, the 9000 Communicator, has become the worlds best selling PDA and has spawned a new category of cell phones called “Smart phones.” Today, over 150 million Smart phones are sold, compared to the stand alone PDA’s 3 million per year. The Apple iPhone, the Nokia N-Series and the RIM Blackberry are typical Smart phones.

So what is a PDA? It is a computer that will fit in your hand. It is sometimes called a palmtop. It is designed to be used from a mobile platform; i.e. you can walk around, drive around, and use it anywhere. It is portable and rugged. It fits easily in your pocket or your purse. With it you can store telephone numbers and email addresses, make and receive phone calls, fax, access the internet, make calculations, play games, and maintain a digital calendar. Most of them include software you would normally find on an office computer, such as word processing and spreadsheet software.

Usually, PDAs have a small screen that, while bigger than a cell phone, is much smaller than that of a laptop. There is a full keyboard, and a metal or plastic pen called a stylus, for inputting data on the touch pad screen. There are some models that only work with the stylus. It usually has from four to twelve hardware buttons.

Most models work with Microsoft Windows’ special version, which is called Windows Mobile. If not, there is Palmtop software available. All PDAs can interface with a desktop or a laptop system, though you may need to purchase accessories to do so.

Most newer PDAs have SD and/or CF card slots, an infrared port, and wireless connectivity to the internet, intranets, or extranets via Wi-Fi or WWANs (Wireless Wide-Area Networks).

Optional features of a PDA include 8 to 256 MB of storage and desktop PIM synchronization software. With flash card capability, a PDA can store, access, and transfer virtually any kind of data, including presentations, spreadsheets and maps. They can also contain handwriting recognition features. Some PDAs actually come with voice recognition and a digital voice recorder!

Handheld Computer

Another innovation is the handheld computer. It will generally cost more and offer more features than PDAs. It is somewhat larger than a PDA , but still smaller than a laptop, and usually offers a miniature keyboard for typing. Handhelds have not been all that popular, mainly because they are more cumbersome than PDAs and less powerful than laptops.

As in all electronics, components and specifications keep changing and improving. Today you have PDA’s with lots of RAM memory, plenty of storage in either miniature hard drives, in compact flash cards, or in memory sticks. Some can be expanded by a PC card that fits into a PCMCIA slot. There are USB ports in the newer palmtop computers that can be used to plug in a variety of peripherals.

Many PDAs have interfaces that are programmable, and can run third-party applications. List managers and extended PIM applications are available add-on software, as well as graphing calculators and photo albums. Accessories such as GPS receivers enable a PDA to function as a satellite navigation device, though these are built into high-end models. Digital cameras are now popular in high-end PDAs, which can record both video and still images.

The operating systems are specially designed for PDAs. The performance depends on the processor speed, and the amount of memory (RAM). A typical PDA would boast a 624MHz processor and 64MB of RAM.

A personal digital assistant is a good tool for helping you to stay organized. PDAs are really popular with people who are constantly on the road, corporate professionals, college students, and of course teens. There are so many different types in different price ranges and with different features that it is unlikely that you could not find exactly what you are looking for and can afford.


For less than $100, you can purchase a PDA with all the basics, like storing of telephone numbers and addresses, a calendar, a calculator, and some travel functions. Because most of them have infrared synching, you can also send and receive data to and from other computers.

At a moderate price, you can expect extra functions, such as a color screen, larger amounts of memory and storage capabilities, USB port and the ability to play video games.

At the top of the line you have the Smart phones that have every available option loaded onto them. These high tech devices include cell phone, mp3 player, tons of memory, Bluetooth capability, and so on. You are going to pay from $450 to $800 for these models.

When you are shopping for a PDA, stop to consider exactly what your needs are. Certain features will push up the price when you would never have any need for them. Also consider how easy this model is to use, and screen resolution, brightness and size.