How Do You Choose a PDA?

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How Do You Choose a PDA?

  1. 1. How Do You Choose a PDA? Considerations
  2. 2. Basic Terminology <ul><li>PDA: A P ersonal D igital A ssistant with </li></ul><ul><li>PIM ( P ersonal I nformation M anagement) features used for mobile computing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Which PDA Organizer to Choose? <ul><li>In the early to mid-1990’s there was only a tiny selection of PDA models – all from the same company – US Robotics/3Com </li></ul><ul><ul><li>None were expandable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The only difference between them was styling and the amount of internal memory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are now dozens of choices from multiple companies with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple memory/peripheral expansion technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three screen types and three screen resolutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two battery categories </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Which PDA to Choose? <ul><li>Whether you are a newcomer to the PDA world about to make your first purchase or </li></ul><ul><li>A long standing PDA user about to upgrade to a newer machine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is important to understand the implications of the various technologies and which factors are important in your buying decisions </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Which PDA to Choose? <ul><li>Considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What will you use your PDA for? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much memory is enough? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What hardware options do you want? Exploring 3 Wireless Options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What about portability ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you want your PDA powered ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Screen Choices ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OS, Speed and Power: Processors, Memory, and Expansion – Explained! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectors and Compatibility Conundrum </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 1. What Will You Use Your PDA For? <ul><li>A lot of people buy a PDA without any idea of what they are going to use it for beyond Date Book and Address Book functions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not everyone &quot;takes&quot; to a keyboardless PDA due to perceived slow text input, small screen size, limited image quality and/or a lack of that &quot; whatever&quot; is needed to input all of your data in the first place and then keep it up to date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many PDAs are coming with built in little “thumbpads” to facilitate data input </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>So, an absolute beginner used to a paper-based organizer or a desktop PIM might want to look at lower end models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prices range from $99 to $799 </li></ul></ul>
  7. 11. 2. How Much Memory is Enough? <ul><li>If you are new to PDAs but have some specific application in mind beyond pure datebook/organizer related functions, then a further pause for thought is in order – current PDAs range from 32MB to 128MB of internal memory (one even the Palm Lifedrive even has 4GB!) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have already decided that you'll want to store detailed street maps or multiple reference materials, then steer away from models without memory expansion capabilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you want to store just a few maps, books or references, then less memory may still fit the bill </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 12. 3. Hardware Expansion Options <ul><li>If you are planning to buy hardware add-ons such as pagers and digital cameras for your PDA, check that whatever you are looking for is either already available or due for imminent release </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A significant number of &quot;planned&quot; peripherals never see the light of day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also remember that pagers and wireless devices will only operate in certain areas under specific network contracts </li></ul>
  9. 13. 3a. Wireless Options <ul><li>Wireless solutions are available to get PDA’s connected without the constraints of wires </li></ul><ul><li>There are three wireless solutions available which enable users to break the wires and access computers, networks, and the Internet: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bluetooth, WiFi and GSM/GPRS & CDMA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All these wireless solutions can work simultaneously, but usually a PDA can only utilize one or two because of the need for added expansion solutions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To decide on which wireless solution is best, let's look at what wired connection it will replace </li></ul></ul>
  10. 15. 3a. Wireless Options: Bluetooth <ul><li>Bluetooth is a short range wireless solution </li></ul><ul><li>Bluetooth is the wireless equivalent of USB (Universal Serial Bus) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is defined as short range because it only operates at less then 30 feet from another device </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bluetooth is commonly used for connectivity directly to a computer (for syncing) or between multiple Bluetooth devices (like to a mobile phone) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bluetooth allows for a connection to the Internet only through another device </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 17. 3a. Wireless Options: WiFi <ul><li>WiFi is a mid range wireless solution (802.11x) </li></ul><ul><li>It is defined as mid range because it only operates at a maximum distance of 1200-1600 feet from another device </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WiFi is the wireless equivalent of Ethernet or a local area network (LAN) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Like Ethernet, WiFi networks can be set up to access established networks – wired or wireless </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WiFi allows for connection to the Internet through an established connection </li></ul></ul>
  12. 18. 3a. Wireless Options: GSM/GPRS & CDMA <ul><li>GSM/GPRS and CDMA are two long range wireless solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Both are based on the same technology used by cell phones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because of this, you cannot set up your own GSM/GPRS or CDMA network but you pay a monthly fee to a data service provider (often these are just cellular service providers) for Internet access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Note that some data service providers use GSM/GPRS while others use CMDA </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GSM/GPRS and CDMA is the wireless equivalent of cellular data service </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not only can these kinds of connections let you roam and access the Internet , but in some cases and with certain devices you can also have voice phone service allowing the device to double as a mobile phone </li></ul></ul>
  13. 20. 3b. Expansion <ul><li>PDA expandability is becoming an even more important component as users wish to be able to add more memory and use new technology in their devices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike desktop computers, the internal components like the processor, memory, and other hardware of the device cannot be changed or modified easily (or in some cases not at all) by the user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expansion slots are the best, easiest, and cheapest way for memory and/or expansions to be added </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The most common expansion slots found on Palm devices are Secure Digital (SD) and Memory Stick </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Different slots feature different size and style expansions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 21. 4. Portability <ul><li>Although all current PDAs have similar footprints, their thickness and weight varies substantially </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These differences have a marked effect of &quot;pocketability&quot; portability so handle your prospective purchase to see if you are happy with the bulk </li></ul></ul>
  15. 22. 5. Powering Your PDA <ul><li>Most current devices come with built in rechargeable battery packs </li></ul><ul><li>A few models are powered by conventional AAA batteries </li></ul>
  16. 23. 5. Powering Your PDA <ul><li>If you plan very heavy use of your PDA particularly with backlight turned on, you will eat through AAA batteries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Games are processor intensive and eat batteries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many people find it convenient to put their PDA on its recharging cradle for ½ hour to keep the battery pack topped off </li></ul><ul><li>If you go on long backpacking trips AAA battery PDAs make a lot of sense </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For the best of both worlds the Handera 330 can be used with four AAA cells, an internal rechargeable pack, or a direct main adapter! </li></ul></ul>
  17. 24. 6. Screen Choices <ul><li>Never take someone else's advice on this – visit your local store with a short list and then scrutinize the screen of your intended purchase </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Even examining the PDA in the store before purchase might not be enough to make an informed decision on screen quality since the brightness in store lighting might be unrepresentative of your working environment </li></ul></ul>
  18. 25. 6a. Color or Monochrome? <ul><li>General Points to Keep in Mind: </li></ul><ul><li>Monochrome Screens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Invariably clear and easy to read in brightly lit conditions or in outdoor sunlight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In very dark conditions they are also easy to read with their backlight switched on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In intermediate lighting conditions such as a poorly lit room or at dusk, however, the readability is often less satisfactory and the backlight is of little help </li></ul></ul>
  19. 26. 6a. Color or Monochrome? <ul><li>General Points to Keep in Mind: </li></ul><ul><li>Backlit Color Screens (older and cheaper) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bright, crisp and show vivid colors in average, dim or dark lighting conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outdoors, this type of screen darkens progressively as the light level increases, until, under bright sunlight, the screen is virtually unreadable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you plan to make a lot of outdoor use of your PDA a backlit color screen is a bad idea </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For indoor use they provide a most readable and comfortable display option </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 27. 6a. Color or Monochrome? <ul><li>General Points to Keep in Mind: </li></ul><ul><li>Frontlit Color Screens (Most new models) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doesn't suffer adversity to sunlight – becomes more readable as light level increases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrast level in other lighting conditions is lower than with a backlit screen leaving colors looking washed out unless backlight is turned on </li></ul></ul>
  21. 28. 6a. Color or Monochrome? <ul><li>Choice between color or mono is a personal one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some users find color superfluous on an organizer while others find it indispensable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Color costs significantly more than monochrome </li></ul></ul>
  22. 29. 6a. Color or Monochrome? <ul><li>Color or Mono -- Pointers: </li></ul><ul><li>If you use primarily datebook and address book functions, you actually get little benefit from color </li></ul><ul><li>If you want to view images or use mapping software, color adds clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Games are more appealing in color – if leisure software is important to you, consider color </li></ul>
  23. 30. 6b. Screen Resolution <ul><li>Bigger and Better Screens </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Range from old standard 160x160 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To 320X320 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Newest (and most expensive) h igh-resolution TFT color display (320 x 480) and even 480x640 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This gives a better rendition of photographic images and can make text clearer to read due to the greater number of pixels used to display each character </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 31. 6b. Screen Resolution <ul><li>The higher the resolution, the better the quality of your screen </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you plan to do a lot of reading from your PDA, you will want a higher resolution since the text appears smoother and the images sharper. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PDAs have resolutions ranging from </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>160x160 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>320x320 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>320x240 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>320x480 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>460x640 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 32. 160 x 160
  26. 33. 320 x 320
  27. 34. 320 x 480
  28. 35. 320x480
  29. 36. 7a. OS <ul><li>Palm or Windows Mobile/Pocket PC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft may rule the desktop world, but in the battle for handheld supremacy, it's still anybody's game. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Found in handhelds from PalmOne , Kyocera , Sony , Samsung , and other manufacturers, the Palm operating system has held a market-share advantage since the beginning, but Windows Mobile 2003 (née Pocket PC) is no longer just nipping at its heels; it's nipping away at its sales, as well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visit http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3127_7-5120845-1.html?tag=dir for a shootout and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3127_7-5120845-10.html?tag=arw for the results </li></ul></ul>
  30. 37. 7b. Processor Speed <ul><li>A faster processor does not always have added benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Faster processors require more power so having a faster processor means that a device battery may die more quickly or the device may include a larger battery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A faster processor speed is something that many users desire, but is not always needed, so consider your most often used PDA applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you want the device to be a planner replacement, then your device will not have to do much processing and a faster processor is only going to help to lower battery life while not really improving productivity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you want the device to be able to play music, movies, surf the Internet, or play advanced games, your device will have to process lots of data so it can display that data to you visually and/or audibly </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In this second case, a faster processor would still drain the battery like in the first case, but it also would actually be used so you could adequately perform the functions required (or desired) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 38. 8. Connectors and Compatibility <ul><li>The majority of current models come with USB (Universal Serial Bus) connection standard </li></ul><ul><li>Unless forced to use a serial connection, go for USB whenever possible because it is at least 3-4 times faster and usually does not require any hardware configuration </li></ul>
  32. 39. 8. Connectors and Compatibility <ul><li>Beyond the type of cradle or cable connection used, it's worth looking at what comes bundled with each device for the price </li></ul>
  33. 40. Which PDA Organizer to Choose? <ul><li>Personal Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, all of the current crop of PDAs do broadly the same thing – they all come with the basic suite of software – how you can expand your PDA - the Palm is the clear winner while for audio and video applications the edge goes to Windows Mobile/Pocket PC (though I have Shrek and What the Bleep on my Palm!) </li></ul>
  34. 41. Summary: Which PDA to Choose? <ul><li>What is your PDA's purpose? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How much memory do you need? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider expandability with memory sticks, or springboard modules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What hardware options do you want to add? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure your model support popular add-ons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Portability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider size and weight </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rechargeable or removable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Screen Choices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monochrome or color, backlit or front lit? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other Considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speed and Power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectors and Compatibility </li></ul></ul>

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