The PDA Is Dead, Long Live The PDA

from the oh-come-on dept

I’ve argued about this before, but we’re seeing more stories like this, so it’s time to bring up the issue again. Lots of folks out there are spending time saying that the PDA is dead, and that it was never that big of a market anyway. The article claims that anyone who ever really wanted a personal digital assistant already has one, and now that market is being taken over by the so-called smartphone market. I still think these folks are missing the point. The smartphone market is simply the next generation of the PDA market – with a wireless connection. Go back two decades or so, when everyone was buying computers for personal productivity (just like how everyone was buying PDAs a few years ago). Then, along came the mainstream acceptance of the internet, and all computers started showing up with (a) ways to connect to the internet and (b) applications that made use of that connection. This is the same thing that’s happening now with smartphones simply being the next generation of PDAs (adding a connection and applications that make use of the connection). However, you never heard anyone talking about the “death of the PC”. It was just the rise of the internet. So, instead of focusing on the death of the PDA, shouldn’t we be focused more on the “rise of wireless connectivity”?

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Comments on “The PDA Is Dead, Long Live The PDA”

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Reardon says:

No, really, the PDA is dead

I think you are generalizing the term PDA too much. Within the sentiment “the PDA is dead” is really a conclusion that Palm and WindowsCE are dead. And I agree with those conclusions.

The question is whether the phones as we know them today, with their _existing_ software builds, are accreting the functions of PDA builds faster than the _existing_ PDA environments are becoming credible phone interfaces. Only the most rabid Palm bigot, could, for instance, could love any of the phone features, even of the latest Trio.

Its interesting to note that the hottest new features, like cameras, in this market are attaching to mass-market, non-PDA-os, non-PDA-form-factor devices first.

I see this less as mainframe vs. mini and more PC vs. workstation. The workstation environments (Sun, SGI, HP) did not migrate down-market, but rather Wintel migrated up-market. Even the highest-end applications of 1996 are now both available and credible on Wintel.


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