Why You Need A PDA

PDAs were introduced at the height of the mobile worker movement, which made them the ultimate showoff gadget of their time. Today, although smartphones have mostly overtaken them, PDAs are still one of the most useful gadgets to have around. Here’s why.

They say the PDA is dead, with the more advanced smartphone and pocket computer industry steadily gaining ground. But it’s hard to beat the style, function, and high convenience offered by these handy little PCs. And the industry players seem to know it: major brands like HP and Dell continue to churn out new models every year, and the old-time bestsellers have more or less kept their place in the market. Here are seven reasons why you should hold on to that PDA—or even get an upgrade.

Work on the go. If you want pure, undisturbed productivity, the good old PDA is still your best bet. Sure, smartphones are basically just more advanced PDAs, and laptops let you do a lot more. But with the smartphone’s extra features, and the laptop’s considerable bulk, it can be hard to get through the menus and really get things done. With a PDA, you can get rid of unwanted extras and focus on the task at hand.

Stay organized. The first PDAs were designed as digital organizers, and that is still what they do best. Whether you’re a busy student, a working mom or a traveling executive, your trusty PDA is your main productivity tool. A PDA not only lets you store appointments, it also helps you keep tabs on your schedule and stay on track with your commitments. It’s like having a personal secretary, minus the maintenance and compensation costs.

Store important data. It’s happened a lot of times: You write down an important number, tuck it away, and when you finally need it, you’ve either lost it or left it on your desk. Paper reminders are out; digital notes are in. Next time you have to write something down, simply whip out your stylus and key it in, and forget about it. That way, not even a thunderstorm can wipe it from your PDA’s memory. Use it to store account numbers, email addresses, and other important data.

Travel light. With the trend moving towards 15- to 17-inch screens, bringing your laptop on business travel has become less practical. There are still ultraportable models, but there’s often a trade off: poor battery life, cramped keyboards, inefficient cooling systems, or a simple lack of vital features. A PDA, on the other hand, fits easily into your pocket while still giving you all the essentials. You might miss the theater-quality screen of your laptop, but you certainly won’t miss the hassle of lugging it around.

Never get lost. Many of the new PDAs are equipped with a GPS receiver, which can tell you exactly where you are on earth anytime. That way, you can find your way even in a city on the other side of the world. Mount it in your car and you’ve got yourself a neat navigational assistant. You can even download maps to enhance your PDA’s GPS function, or install GPS games for entertainment.

Take your entertainment on the road. They’re not quite as swanky as the iPod or the PSP, but PDAs have always had a lighter side to them. Most models now have audio and video playback, games, and picture viewing capabilities, which is great for those little downtimes in between flights, while waiting for your coffee, or whenever you have a bit of free time. Just make sure you have spare batteries, as multimedia can drain your battery power.

Look cool. There’s just something fascinating about someone whipping out a PDA and making a few notes on the smooth touch screen. Smartphones look nice, too, but they’re still essentially just dressed-up cell phones. If you want that “wow” factor, the PDA is the way to go.