We may have missed the PDA bus in this part of the country, but it’s never too late for a ticket, you know. A Personal Digital Assistant is like a highly evolved digital diary or a simple mini-computer with few features. And yet, it’s really neither. Perhaps this problem of classification is what hampered its sales in this country (not to mention the prohibitive price). Yet, the handheld (as it’s also known) has its select fan following.
Going by the simple demand-supply rule, less demand has meant that some of the better-known brands are not available over-the-counter, particularly in Calcutta. This includes the Treo Handspring that successfully married a PDA to a phone to earn the ‘smartphone’ tag, or Sony’s CLIE, both extremely popular handhelds across the world.
With improved and advanced designing, memory size shrinking (but holding more) and software giants developing for various PDA platforms, these little but powerful devices can work wonders now. You can store contact information, text, music, record voice, schedule appointments, play games and even surf the Net —- all with a gadget that sits snug on your palm. Some of them also allow you to use a mobile phone in the vicinity to make calls.
All PDAs let you synchronise content with your personal computer, thereby acting as a data backup and carriage device.
Manindra Nath Banerjee, an industrial consultant, swears by his trusted iPAQ: “I can record my voice and even store it on a CD by transferring the file onto my PC. It helps me transfer data too.”
But Banerjee has a bother: “It hogs precious battery even when switched off. There is, however, a warning on the screen if the main battery is running low. Now I keep an eye out for that.”
So, in Hyderabad Blues parlance (with a twist)... dil pe mat le, haath mein le... And you can pick your palm pal.
Palm Tungsten T3
From the original handheld people. One of the features that makes this model special is its ‘stretch display’. With the tap of a button, the view changes from portrait to landscape for a better view of spreadsheets, photos and web pages. The screen resolution is an impressive 320x480 pixels. A 400 MHz Intel XScale processor and 64 MB of memory add muscle to the great looks. You can also listen to music and watch video clips. A five-way navigation button aids faster access while the Palm operating system improves functionality. Share with built-in Bluetooth.
Price tag: Rs 29,000
A four-inch TFT display is for the looks. A special flash memory ensures your data will remain intact even if the battery runs out. Like the Tungsten, this too features a 400 MHz processor but has 128 MB memory. Integrated Wi-Fi enables wireless data transfer. Pocket versions of MS Word, Excel and Internet Explorer help you work with files and surf the Net. Voice command options and text-to-speech software let you operate the device, hands-free.
Price tag: Rs 21,000
It’s a “Picasso in your palm”, plugs the company. And quite rightly so. This one’s a stylish phone that has a camera, plays MP3 and has a colour touch screen that supports 65,000 colours. Its advanced messaging system lets you send and receive animated messages to compatible phones incorporating pictures, videos, animations, ring tones and songs. Using the hands-free speakerphone and Bluetooth wireless technology, you can chat with friends either via speaker or a Bluetooth hands-free device even while driving.
Price tag: Rs 23,000
HP iPAQ Pocket PC h5550
Security, expandability and mobile wireless connectivity are the points stressed here. A biometric fingerprint reader takes care of the first, expansion packs and slots cover the second, while Integrated WLAN 802.11b and Bluetooth technologies address the third. The MS Windows Mobile 2003 Software and other applications make good use of the 400 MHz Intel Xscale processor power. Removable, rechargeable batteries and optional extended batteries help you work longer.
In stores soon
All estimated prices including tax
Products courtesy Optima Infotech, 24 Park Street, Cal 16