The Computer Revolution/Personal Technology/PDA's

PDA stands for Personal Digital Assistant which involves a distinct characteristic of a touch screen. PDAs have developed into tools which fit your daily routines and in business needs. Originally personal planners were the main use for pda technology, however today they have evolved into portable computers. The various different tasks that can be completed are; checking email, surfing the internet, creating work documents (Word, Excel etc.), using it as a media tool while still maintaining the functions of a typical cell phone. Video, Mp3, radio, text messaging can all be sent virtually anywhere using connection to the internet. Software can also be downloaded that personalizes the PDA to the user's needs. There are several main operating systems that compete with PDAs: Blackberry, Palm Pilot, and Microsoft's Pocket PC; the three main companies that manufacture them are Nokia, Motarola, Panasonic, and Sony Ericson.

The Different Uses of a PDAEdit

In a school setting, professors can use a PDA to organize information, keep lecture notes, manage his/her files, check e-mails, check students grades, file management, and a PDA synchronizes with your computer which allows it to transfers files, which is better than copy & paste.

In a hospital setting, a nurse may use a PDA as a drug calculator(for proper dosage), to organize their patients, drug dictionary which notifies the nurse as what drug would be proper to use in that specific situation. The main advantage of the PDA to a nurse is the portability that accompanies a PDA.

For the doctors, they use the PDA to complete similar tasks as the nurses except in their PDA they have Artificial Intelligence which guides them to prescribes the correct medicine and treatment. The PDA can only be used in these settings if the accurate software is downloaded to it.

PDA’s are an important asset to a stores well-being now days. It is essential to have one so that they can track all inventory. This is a picture of a PDA used at Target by employees. This hand held gadget holds a lot of information to help the employee with merchandise. You can see what is in stock and the location of where the item should be or if it’s in the backroom. As you can see on the PDA someone was looking up a product; note the dpci number, if we have the item, how much the item sells for and the regular price. In this instant there are none in stock but you can check to see which other stores may have the item. If it would have gave a location then we could get the item for the guest. If items are clearance, it would give a clearance price. You can find sizes, color and quantity of items. If it is an online item or no longer sold, it would state that as well. This hand-held device is great for managers as well. It helps them to keep track of sales goals for the day, it also keeps track of whether employees have went to lunch on time or whether they have punched out after their shift has ended. It also notifies managers if a cashier is having trouble or issues at their register. These various alerts send off a series of beeps until it is cleared. This is a great piece of equipment and has made life so much easier for stores.

Downsides of a PDAEdit

  • Small screen
  • Slow use of internet
  • Slow processing
  • Sensitive screen; you need to learn the appropriate way to interact with the PDA. For an example, the characters are written in a disciplined manner which hinders the completion of tasks.

The TabletEdit

The tablet is a mobile computer that has a touch screen and is primarily operated by touching the screen. It is bigger than a typical PDA but has the same functionalities as one. It is more versatile than a PDA as it has ports for connectivity to other external devices. There are several types of tablets. The slate is the standard type of tablet in which there is no physical keyboard. The convertible notebook computer is one that has a keyboard and converts to a tablet by either swiveling or sliding it away. Hybrids are those that allow external keyboards to be connected to them, but can also be utilized as a standalone tablet. The last type is the booklet, which has two touchscreens and one side can be converted into a virtual keyboard so that it can then be used as a notebook computer.

One of the first introductions of the tablet was the conceptual Dynabook by Alan Kay in 1968 which was later developed into the notebook computer. Microsoft later tried to introduce a comercial tablet, Microsoft Tablet PC, but unsuccessful in its launch. It wasn't until Apple introduced the iPad, which is based on the technology from the iPhone, that truly catapulted the tablet into commercial use and gave way for many other makers to develop their own version of the tablet.