Hard Times Ahead For PDA Makers
PDA makers are not being treated kindly of late. For one thing, sales figures have declined over the last couple of quarters. For another, the nosedive in prices for notebooks has led to some suppliers offloading their mobile PCs for less than $500 . Pocket PCs are also faced with increased competition from smart phones
Simultaneous with this downward pressure on prices is an increase in demands from users. They want more processing power, more memory and storage, higher display resolutions and better standard equipment - all with as little a price rise as possible compared to the preceding generation of Windows pocket PCs. Both the modern business user and the garden variety individual consumer want to use their PDAs for more than simply managing appointments. Today's "bonsai PCs" can also play back MP3 files and videos, and run 3D games - even on a large-format VGA display - without juddering and jolting. Wireless functions? Certainly. In keeping with the times, PDA users need all these functions. At least that's what the marketing departments of various manufacturers would have us believe.
Given all of the above, it is a little strange that an industry giant like Hewlett Packard would have in its portfolio a business PDA selling for US$650. We set out to discover whether HP's iPAQ hx 4700 is really worth its salt.