A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a palmtop computer, is a mobile device which functions as a Personal information manager and connects to the internet. The PDA has an electronic visual display enabling it to include a web browser, but some newer models also have audio capabilities, enabling them to be used as mobile phones or portable media players. Many PDAs can access the internet, intranets or extranets via Wi-Fi, or Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWANs). Many PDAs employ touch screen technology.
The term PDA was first used on January 7, 1992, by Apple Computer CEO John Sculley at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, referring to the Apple Newton. In 1996, Nokia introduced the first mobile phone with full PDA functionality, the 9000 Communicator, which has since grown to become the world’s best-selling PDA and which spawned a category of phones called the smartphone. Today the vast majority of all PDAs are smartphones, selling over 150 million units while non-phone (“stand-alone”) PDAs sell only about 3 million units per year. The RIM BlackBerry, the Apple iPhone and the Nokia N-Series and HTC are typical smartphones.
Popular consumer PDAs
Abacus PDA Watch
Acer N Series
Fujitsu Siemens Computers Loox
HTC Corporation (Dopod, Qtek)’s series of Windows Mobile PDA/phones (HTC)
HTC, especially the HTC P3470 aka Pharos
Palm, Inc. (Tungsten E2, TX, Treo, Zire Handheld, and Pre)
PocketMail (email PDA with inbuilt acoustic coupler)
Psion – obsolete
Sharp Wizard and Sharp Zaurus – obsolete