Portable, mobile technology has long played a major role in the success of many organisations, helping to make day-to-day operations – in settings ranging from warehouse and retail to healthcare environments – quicker and easier.
But if you are only just beginning to equip your own business with such tech, or if you are reviewing the devices you are presently using and considering their relevance and usefulness, what do you need to know today about the relative merits of smartphones vs personal digital assistants (PDAs)?
PDAs Are Not Necessarily the Outdated Precursor to Smartphones
There’s a certain perception that persists when it comes to the relationship between PDAs and smartphones: that we are now firmly in the “smartphone age”, and that PDAs – which tend to be associated with the world of work of the 1990s and early 2000s – have largely receded in relevance.
Such a perception isn’t entirely inaccurate, in that many of the best-known manufacturers of PDAs in decades past – such as Apple and Palm – did eventually turn their focus to smartphones with the rise of the latter device type from the 2000s onwards.
Global smartphone sales in 2007 – the year that saw the launch of the first iPhone, and therefore in the eyes of many observers, the “smartphone era” as a whole – were just over 122 million; for the year 2021, they were 1.43 billion.
But it is also important to acknowledge that even today, many businesses do still use PDAs and similar devices. While the original PDAs were – in effect – ‘diary’ devices for the storage of information, and replaced the previous pen-and-paper notebook ‘organiser’ for busy professionals, many more recently released PDAs also offer such perks as the ability to surf the Internet, check emails, and type out documents.
There also continue to be many support resources available for PDAs and similar mobile computers, both online and offline. This helps to keep many older devices in productive operation, even in the 2020s.
Should You, Then, Favour the Smartphone or the PDA?
One thing that can’t be denied about smartphones, is that they tend to be packed with more features than PDAs – especially the most recent models. However, while smartphones tend to be just as capable as PDAs when it comes to the traditional PDA ‘calling card’ of note-taking, planning, organising and scheduling, it doesn’t automatically follow that the extra features a smartphone might offer will be ones your organisation needs.
This brings us neatly onto one of the biggest benefits of PDAs over smartphones: their relative affordability. Without the ‘extras’ that smartphones usually have, such as gaming options or in-built cameras, PDAs are very much centred on business, and highly cost-effective.
By today’s standards, PDAs are often fairly simple devices incorporating a hardware keyboard rather than a touchscreen, and lacking the ability to download further content from the Internet. However, it is by no means always the case that PDAs are less sophisticated than smartphones, and in today’s world, there can be a lot of overlap between PDAs and other categories of device, such as mobile computers and barcode scanners.
Even if the PDAs your business is presently using don’t have some features that you might appreciate having, they may have larger screens and more generous battery life than their obvious smartphone counterparts.
So, the question of choosing between smartphones and PDAs for your organisation will likely come down to what your firm’s everyday needs are on-site, and how well-matched your devices’ specifications are to those needs.
Get Your Device Fixed by The Most Reputable Professionals
Don’t forget, too, that responsible maintenance steps can greatly help you extend the lifespan of devices that might have otherwise become outmoded and unusable much sooner.
Whether you need to repair a PDA, barcode scanner, or other mobile computer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Mobile Computer Repair today. We can give you the benefit of a complete and reasonably priced Honeywell, Zebra, or Motorola repair service, to cite just some of the brands for which we are renowned repairers.