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Buying a PDA Phone

PDA + Phone = Power In Your Pocket

Smartphones have plenty of tools and services, but if you don't fancy viewing them on a very small screen and using them with a couple of softkeys and a four-way controller, look at a PDA phone. You get the widest choice of applications and input, plus a bigger screen-and you don't have to sacrifice phone features either.

If you've used a PDA already, you'll find the familiar names and operating systems here like Palm and iPAQ, alongside Symbian devices from phone manufactures such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson. As with smartphones, many Windows Mobile PDA phones are made by HTC and branded by the operators (the T-Mobile Dash, the O2 XDA range, the Orange SPV models and the Cingular and Verizon own-brand models). HTC also uses its own brand now, as well as the i-mate and Qtek brands, so there are many names for the same devices. Other Pocket PC manufacturers like Samsung and Mio also have phone models now. Blackberry isn't just for business users and the Sidekick may not have as many applications as other devices but it's more like a PDA than a pager these days. In the United States, users are evenly split between Windows Mobile, Palm and Blackberry; in the UK Symbian devices are popular and Palm is less common.

With all of these you get the classic PDA features; contacts and calendar that synch with your PC Mac, notes that you can type or scribble with a stylus and extra software from e-books to golf games to lunar calculators to money management software to clients for business tools like Salesforce.com. Adding a phone means you can call all those people in your address book, browse the Web, send instant messages as well as texts and do a high proportion of what you'd otherwise schlep a laptop around for.

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