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Personal Digital Assistants

May 16, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), also called handheld computers, provide a flexible and portable way to keep tabs on your appointments. However, they also provide many more functions.  Some PDAs can be used to make phone calls, play games, access the internet, send and receive emails, listen to MP3 files or even watch downloaded shows and movies.  For those consumers already using a portable PC, they often wonder how they ever lived without one.

Common PDAs include the BlackBerry and Trio.  These models include full keyboards and scroll wheels that are used to navigate the system and enter data.  Full-sized foldable keyboards can be plugged into the units for prolonged use.  PDAs include some type of connection used to transfer information from the palm PC to a desktop or laptop.

Custom software and configuration is required to link data from a PC to a PDA.  If you intend to use a PDA for work, check with your internal IT department first to see if your email server is able to talk to your handheld device.  After purchasing the correct device, your IT manager can help you configure the PDA so you can receive work email and access the internet.

Prices for PDAs range from $100 to $800 for the device.  You may also incur monthly charges if your PDA is serviced by a mobile phone provider.  Also consider any accessories that you may need to use your PDA in the intended manner.  All of these costs can add up, but can be well worth it if you need to stay connected at all times and locations.

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