People need to be organized. They need to be able to find information and keep track of what is going on in their lives, at home and at work. People use calendars, address books, notebooks, and even scraps of paper to do this. People wanted an easier way to keep organized, all in one place. New technology lets people have all of these functions, and more, in one little device, a personal digital assistant, or PDA.
The first personal digital assistant was made by the Psion company in 1984, They werenít trying to make it into just an organizer, but also a small computer that could be programmed. Other companies, like Apple, Motorola, Sharp, and Sony, started releasing more PDAs. These didnít work out very well because the keyboards were small and it was very frustrating to get information into the PDA. In 1996, U.S. Robotics started to sell the Palm Pilot, which let people write the information, not type it. They used a special writing system called Graffiti to enter information which was easy and quick. People loved this and started to buy many of them. Millions of PDAs are bought every year.
Todayís PDAs have appointment schedulers, to-do lists, phone and address books, notepads, drawing applications, finance software, calculators, alarms, clocks, file managers, voice recorders, games, and some can even play music. People can write almost any application for a PDA. Most PDAs also have a way to take information from a computer and put it in the PDA, and take information from the PDA and put it in the computer. This is called synchronizing. This lets people keep everything up to date, and only have to type the information once. New PDA's are able to access the Internet and e-mail through a protocol called WAP, or Wireless Access Protocol. This will let people get their e-mail and any information they may need, like stock quotes, news, weather, restaurant guides, and movie listings, whenever they need it.
Future PDA's will let people attach other devices like digital cameras and Global Positioning Systems, have built in audio for playing music, have faster wireless connectivity to the Internet, and will be smaller and more powerful. I think that in the future PDA's will have voice recognition, which will make inputting information much easier. People will just have to speak the information instead of writing or typing it.