Originally from a simple electronic diary, the pda has become a real mini pocket computer, essential for some users for all its organizational functions, but now also for its communication, multimedia, and now navigation functions. . Calendar, mobile phone, electronic messaging, audio and video player, GPS… The pda can be extremely versatile. However, the selection criteria differ according to needs, and it will be a question of finding the right compromise between size, weight, functionality, and price.

Smartphone or pda?

It is a fact: simple pdas are a species in the process of rarefaction in favor of hybrid models combining the functions of pda and mobile phone. Communicating PDAs embed Wi-Fi wireless technologies, GSM / GPRS telephony functions, even those labeled “high speed”: EDGE or 3G, or even now 3G + (HSDPA technology). Opting for a communicating model has many advantages: it makes it possible to have two essential functions in the same tool and to combine them for more autonomy. Connecting to the Internet and in particular collecting emails are now possible in all circumstances and in any place. Those who do not want an integrated telephony function, will fortunately still find some survivors.

The formats

If the functions of pdas have multiplied, their formats have done the same, quite logically. The classic pdas have hardly evolved: always so little compacts. However, they are complete and powerful PDAs, equipped with slots for memory cards. In the family of communicating PDAs, there are three subcategories: models similar in terms of format to the classic PDA, but much more compact. Some, like the  HTC TyTN,  will have a full keyboard for more comfortable messaging (hidden under the screen). A second category, straddling the pda and the mobile phone, offers a smaller screen but also a mini keyboard below, like the HP hw6915or the classic Blackberries. The third category: smartphones. They look more like a mobile phone in “bar” format but lose in the process the comfort of use specific to PDAs and the use of the stylus. They have many other advantages as shown by the success of the Orange SPV C500 and C600 …


Convergence requires the pda is an ideal platform to accommodate in addition a GPS function. In addition to the packs with external receiver and dedicated software, there are also some basic PDA models integrating a foldable (or fully integrated) GPS receiver and pre-installed navigation software. Better still, communicating PDA models with an internal GPS chip are emerging, more and more efficient and reliable, such as the HTC P3300 , HP hw6915 or E-Ten Glofiish X500 .


Even entry-level PDAs now have a 65,000-color screen, of varying quality, however… But this at least makes it easy to view photos or videos. In the field of display, two criteria are essential. First of all the display resolution of the screen. In most cases, it reaches the resolution of 320×240 pixels or 320×480 pixels, sufficient for a basic display. If you are particularly demanding on space and display comfort in order to consult office documents, surf the Web or watch videos in the best conditions, you will have to opt for the VGA resolution (640×480 pixels). Second criterion: resistance to screen reflections, because in broad daylight, consulting some pedals can be difficult. Fortunately, most models are equipped with so-called TFT (Transflective Thin-film Transistor) screens whose display is efficient both indoors and outdoors.


Like a computer, PDAs integrate fixed memory called ROM (Read-Only Memory) and RAM (Random Access Memory). Until recently, RAM was used not only for the operation of applications but also for data storage. As RAM is volatile, it was always advisable not to wait for the battery to run out completely to recharge your PDA or turn it off, otherwise, data would be lost. Palm OS 5.4 and Windows Mobile 5 and 6 operating systems support non-volatile memory, data and applications are now stored in Flash ROM. So there is no more risk of losing your data with Palm models and Windows devices. Mobile. The amount of Flash memory is still limited to 128 MB or even 256 MB at the top of the range. One (or two) Secure Digital / MMC or Compact Flash-type memory card slot is generally provided, and it will be welcome to extend the storage capacities of the pda, especially if you want to listen to music or watch videos. videos, large files par excellence.


As with any mobile device, the autonomy of a pda remains essential. Fortunately, it is less vital to recharge your PDA before it dies under the penalty of losing its data, since the arrival of non-volatile memories. Suddenly, we also save the time of use. The batteries generally used on PDAs are of the Lithium-Ion type, which guarantees between 12 and 18 hours of autonomy. But this autonomy is often undermined by intensive use, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi activated, video playback … Also, avoid fixed batteries: they have the disadvantage of not being able to be replaced … It will therefore be better to choose models with a removable battery.

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