The PDA, Mobile Computing Before The Smartphone

Apple Newton Palm Pilot PocketPC

What is a Personal Digital Assistant

Before the rise of the Smartphone, an electronic device superseding the personal computer our primary consumption device for data, there was the Pda (Personal Digital Assistant). PDAs contained a microprocessor and non-volatile ram storage. They contain an operating system with a graphical user interface, and touch sensitive screens. The first PDAs had monochrome screens, later they were introduced with color screens.

The History of the Personal Digital Assistant

PDAs were first developed as replacements for traditional pen and paper organizers.Pison introduced the first Pda in 1984, but the term PDA was first used when Apple introduced the Newton in 1994. IBM introduced a PDA, with cell phone functionality, called the Simon. Palm introduced its first PDA, The Palm Pilot, in 1996. Microsoft entered the PDA market with the development of Windows CE beginning in 1992. Microsofts PocketPC operating system was introduced in the year 2000 and was based on Windows CE. There were other PDA platforms such as the Sharp Zaurus and the Magic Cap Platform. Peripherals such as card readers, mini printers and modems (for Internet access) could be added. PDAs had applications for saving contact information, and scheduling. Later on applications were developed for viewing and editing wordprocessing documents, spreadsheets, presentations.

Platform/OS Year Released Year Discontinued Successor System
Newton 1993 1998 None
Palm OS 1996 2009 WebOS
PocketPC 2000 2007 Windows Mobile