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What Is a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)?

A personal digital assistant or PDA is a portable handheld device whose purpose is to allow the ability to perform organizational tasks from a mobile platform. Although the original PDAs were only limited to storing addresses, phone numbers, calendars and task lists, the current crop of PDAs now have other functions – a fax, mobile phone, portable internet device. These new functions seek to integrate two or more devices into the PDA to give convenience to the user. There are a number of PDA types.

There are some that work with the Palmtop software while others run on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform. All of these PDAs can be connected to a computer using either wired or wireless connections. The ability to synchronize data between a PDA and a computer is one of the salient features of a PDA.

There are some PDAs that can be used with a stylus, while there are some models that come equipped with a small QWERTY keyboard. There are some PDAs that come equipped with such technologies as handwriting recognition software, voice recognition and a camera and a digital voice recorder. There are also some PDAs that already come with cell phone functionality and the ability to surf the internet through a WLAN (wireless local area network). The ability to connect to the internet has brought a new level of interactivity to PDAs. Users can now surf the internet, send and receive email and retrieve various types of information. The most powerful PDAs can even function like a small computer and perform some other tasks like word processing and spreadsheets.

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