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Old 05-17-2005, 09:00 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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Is PDA Technology Mature - Have PDAs "Plateaued"?

There's a very interesting thread over at the Palm Addicts forum. (Yes, I know, we do mention Palm Addicts very often. Get used to it -- they are both an incredible site and good friends to MobileRead!)

Here's the question posted by jvburdick today...
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I have been trying to decided whether or not to purchase the lifedrive and make it the upgrade to my Tungsten E. As I looked at the T5 and the rumored specs of the lifedrive, I thought to myself has the PDA plateaued? The lifedrive adds more space and built in wifi, but where will the PDA go from here? What else can be added to the PDA to keep it going strong? It would now seem that all possible features have been added in the lifedrive (i.e. dual wireless, huge storage space, etc). PDAs becoming smartphones would be the inevitable next step. So what do you think, are the mobile managers going to save PDAs or will PDAs just become smartphones?
I am so excited about the future of PDAs that I cannot help but comment on this question. It's a great question because it seems to be a common thought in the PDA world these days. But I have great news for all of us... we've only just begun, and the best is yet to come. In fact, my biggest worry about buying a LifeDrive is not that it's the end of the line, but that it's starting something great and if I buy now I'll miss out later. There's only so many times I'm willing to open my wallet. Isn't that always the quandry of a tech buyer -- you always feel like you need to wait because something better is just around the corner!

Well, I would go so far as to say that PDAs are much more than not mature, but that they are even still in that exciting birth stage. I'd compare it to the stage that PCs were in when you had the Commodore 64 and the TRS-80 and the AppleII. The good stuff has just begun.

Let me give you a glimpse of what the future might bring. In the short run, maybe a clamshell LifeDrive with a keyboard and 40gig hard drive. But in the long run, there's no limit!

Consider what will happen if you add low-power consumption, thin and spectacular life-like displays. Consider maybe a screen projection from your pda. Imagine it being cheap and powerful and as thin as you want. Imagine when you can carry a Terrabyte on it instead of 4gig.

Think about when there is a cell phone in it (or something like Skype that uses data connectivity instead of phone service providers), and you don't have to sacrifice anything in the PDA specs or size to have it. Consider when you're always connected because data plans or wifi-like technologies are available ubiquitously, and for small costs. Consider when new battery technologies mean that you don't have to worry about how bright you turn up your screen or whether your bluetooth or wifi is on. Consider when it's actually easy to use a PDA because the OS and apps are so good. Consider when the processor is so fast that no matter what you are doing, it happens just as fast as you can tell it what to do -- no more sluggishness or delays.

How exciting when PDAs are also able to be terminals running server software somewhere else, and controlling your PC. (Yes, we even see the beginnings of this sort of thing now already.) With connectivity and fast networks, your PDA will give you effectively unlimited computing power and data resources in the palm of your hand.

No, I don't think PDAs have reached a plateau. I think they're just beginning to show their potential!
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Old 05-17-2005, 11:21 AM   #2
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This may sound a tad geeky, but I think personally, that "Mature" will mean that Star Trek is a reality in terms of PADDs vs PDAs.

If you look at it, they have super thing pads of electronic data, that syncronize on the fly with a nearby 'server'. Further, since you don't see any docking cradles around, apparently the pad also gets it's power from either a Super Powered long-life battery housed within it's case, or it receives power from a form of Microwave energy to recharge on the fly. Either is plausible.

Touch Screen. Check.
Wireless Capability. Check (caveat - gen 1 or gen 2 but it's still there)
Ability to upload wireless to 'server'. Check.
Compact. Check ... and they still are working on it.

Useful calendaring tools. Like the Jedi, this depends on your point of view. The default calendaring and To-Do lists suck. WinOS add-on calendaring ... suck. DateBk5. Rocks!
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Old 05-17-2005, 09:33 PM   #3
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I don't believe they have plateaued. Look at what's being released tomorrow: the LifeDrive....it's a brand new type of PDA. There can always be more storage, more ways to take advantage of wireless technology, ability to control more objects, etc.,etc..

I really think that there is a ways to go as far as PDA technology is concerned. I'm waiting for the day when I can start and warm up my car with my PDA from inside my home!
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