Whether it is for school, business, or personal use, those who are mobile and on the go have found handheld devices indispensable, because they help them do things without necessarily being tied to their PCs or laptops. Even if laptops are known to be portable too, they are bulky when compared to the pocket-sized handheld devices that have enough processing power to send and receive email, to browse the Web for information doing all sort of things without being near a PC or a laptop.
All this is in addition to their main duty of being a personal digital assistance (PDA) that have the capacity to organize all sort of personal and other important information, schedules that have to do with keeping and organizing appointments, keeping information like phone numbers, addresses, and the like handy, in a well organized manner that could be retrieved just by pressing a button. It is also easy to keep school records, business activity, and business planning by simply keying them using the small keyboard that comes with the devices. Some of them have added on features where using handwriting or attaching external keyboard is also possible.
Among the many groups that are being benefited by the handheld devices, students are at the forefront as they have many uses for them starting from the classrooms, where students can use them for taking notes that could be sorted out and edited at a latter time utilizing the word processing capability of the devices. They can also be used as calculators too, which makes them handy devices, and the latest ones even go further by providing the young people the ability to use handheld devices that can also serve as cell phones or cell phones that could also be used as PDAs.
Students can surf the net from anywhere either by using a telephone connection or by using the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless system enabled devices to help them with their research, homework etc. They can also download music and videos to their handheld devices giving them a device that has most of the things they need in one place.
Most of the handheld devices are compatible to work with PCs or laptops, where shuffling material between them is possible. They work with digital cameras and iPods, and have built in MP3 players making them very useful for the youngsters. In addition, there are a good number of software programs specifically directed at the young students to help them in their learning process in the classroom, again adding to how indispensable handheld devices are becoming among the school-age youth.
The same is applicable for the general public that do not necessarily have to tote their laptops from place to place, because they are bulky by PDA’s standard. There is no doubt they have specific uses like when a presentation needs to be made or when the task involved gets a bit complicated. But for simply retrieving documents on the go, to keep records, schedules, appointments, or to do a quick planning, or even to surf the Web to do many of the things that used to require bringing the laptop along now can easily be accomplished with the latest handheld devices whose processing power has increased.
Consequently, what the key decision making factor here is the budget and the needs that will, somehow, have to be synchronized to attain the best result. Those who are on low budget, which includes students can have handheld devices that will do the basics for them by starting out serving as address book, by keeping their schedules, and appointments, including their to-do list, helping them in their note-taking in the classroom, as well as shuffling material between their handheld device, their PCs, or laptops. Such devices are very much affordable even if they provide only the bare minimum. They are good for those who are starting out and upgrading them down-the-line when the need arises is an option.
Those who are professionals, since it is what they are into that dictates what needs to be done, they might have no choice other than to spend more money to buy what they exactly need. Even here, the handheld devices could be affordable because what mostly might be needed is more memory, and the software used might require Microsoft Word and Excel to do editing and the like, as well as expansion slots for future needs that might arise are required so that the device will not end up being obsolete.
The other professional category is those who are frequently on the go, and this group might have to go for the more expensive handheld devices that have at least 400 MHz processing power, where also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connection might be a must if they are planning to send or receive email or surf the Internet. At the same time if this group has to deal with a large number of emails or memos, it is advisable to buy a device that can use an integrated keyboard. This group also will have to worry about battery power and life because of what they will be doing, and they should look at devices that use rechargeable and easily replaceable batteries.
There is also another group, according to sites that sell these devices, with needs to listen to music, watch videos on the go, play games, surf the Web to do many of the things that were touched on, which include to listen to music, to watch videos, play games, read news, find information, buy things online, and the list could go on. They can also take photos with digital cameras and easily load them into the handheld devices for numerous uses. This group will have to look at fast running processors, a lot of memory than the ordinary ones, high-resolution color screens, graphics accelerators for their games, and expansion slots to add other gadgets as the need arises.
Even if they are going to cost more, for anyone that does not want to carry several gadgets, all can be found on the latest cell phones that bundle both a telephone service and a PDA with a revamped capability of doing everything. From watching videos, to music listening, to Web surfing using a wireless telephone line, and all the other PDA functionality including sending and receiving email is possible as they are equipped with editing capability.
Overall, it is possible to surmise that there are very affordable devices that could avail the kinds of services that had been touched on above and have a long lasting durability, yet the best ones cost between $400 – $600. However, the general price range for well-performing PDAs without many bells and whistles could start from $100. There are two kind of commonly used operating systems on the market, the first one is Palm OS, and the second highly used OS is Windows Mobile. The smallest random access memory (RAM) required is 8MB for the Palm OS and 32 MB for the Widows Mobile OS depending on the device used.
Most probably, among the best handheld devices that offers advanced features is HP iPaq rx3715 Mobile Media Companion with its 400MHz processor and 65,000 colors. When it comes to a cell phone and PDA combination Sony Ericsson P910a and PalmOne Treo 650 are among the front runners, the PalmOne costing up to $599. Palm also has PalmOne LifeDrive that is comparable with HP iPaq among high performing PDAs. Dell also has the fastest PDA with 624 MHz and 64 MB RAM, the Dell Axim X51, which is among the top rated devices on the market and sells for up to $499.
In concluding the recommendation, it makes real sense to spend a little bit more money and give someone for the Christmas holiday a handheld device that could last between five to ten years with upgrading, and the gratification could be totally unmatched.