How Does a Personal Digital Assistant Work? Top 5 PDA Questions Answered

PDAs have been around since the 1990s and became the precedent for what we know today as smartphones. Yet, they still exist and remain relevant and significant up to this day. If you’re looking for more information about PDAs and how it can help make your personal and work life a lot easier, here are some frequently asked questions and some short answers for your reference.

1. What is a PDA?

Also known as a palm top or a handheld device, a personal digital assistant is a digital version of a daily planner, making it ideal for busy people who are always moving from place to place such as professionals and business owners. It’s meant to be an extension—not a replacement—of a computer.

2. What can it do?

Most PDAs combine the following basic multimedia and wireless functions:

  • Use of Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Wireless connection via Bluetooth with other Bluetooth-enabled devices such as desktop computers, headsets, and printers
  • Wi-Fi capability for internet connection
  • Speaker and headphone jacks, microphone, and audio support for music files
  • Memory card slots that can accommodate flash media for extra storage space

High-end PDAs feature more security and multimedia functions besides the basic functionalities:

  • Built-in camera for taking photos and short videos
  • Integrated GPS capabilities
  • Built-in security features, like a fingerprint reader
  • Secure Digital Input/Output card slot for peripherals such as a Wi-Fi card, Bluetooth card, and GPS card

3. What are the options available for people who want to own a PDA?

PDAs come in different types: conventional, pocket PCs, Palm, and smartphones.

  • Conventional PDAs – These devices are mostly Microsoft Pocket PCs that operate on Windows Mobile and Palm devices that run on Palm OS.
  • Pocket PCs – These are pocket versions of Microsoft programs like Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel. They can sync on a Windows computer with MS Outlook and have a virtual writing area with apps that can recognize handwriting (such as Transcriber and Block Recognizer)
  • Palm PDAs – The easy-to-use Palm PDAs sync with Mac and Windows computers and feature over 20,000 third-party apps that can be downloaded and installed. Most of these devices, though, have integrated productivity, email, and multimedia software.
  • Smartphones – These mobile devices can be either conventional PDAs with extra mobile phone capabilities or mobile phones with PDA functionalities.

4. How much is the average cost of a PDA?

Depending on the features of the PDA, the price ranges from as low as $50 to as high as $1,000. On average, the costs of PDAs can be somewhere between $300 and $500.

5. How can personal data on a PDA be protected?

So that you won’t lose data even if you lose your PDA, sync your PDA data with a desktop computer. This will serve as your backup in case something goes awry with your PDA. Some PDAs offer data protection in the form of security programs, encryption features of some apps, and password protection. These security features are meant to prevent someone from gaining access to your data stored on a PDA.