Personal Digital Assistants

Good Things Come in Small Packages

"The units are very small and handy, and you can take them with you anywhere--out to dinner, on a business trip, and on a day trip," says Naoya Suzuki, product marketing manager for Sony's Magic Link.

Suzuki says that PDAs can best be used by businesspeople who need to travel and yet keep in touch with their customers while they're on the road. Suzuki draws a difference between what he calls high-end PDAs, like Sony's Magic Link or Apple's Newton, and products without advanced computing and communications capabilities.

"If you just want to have a little device that keeps track of names and contacts, you can find those kind of products for less than $300," Suzuki says. "That's one category, with no communications functions, no applications--just a handheld organizer. There is another set of the products available which includes the more high-powered, high-function products with built-in communications and more connectivity options, such as e-mail and Internet capabilities."

While the PDA won't replace a desktop or notebook computer in a businessperson's technological arsenal, the PDA can serve to complement the other devices by providing a portable, light (less than two pounds) alternative that is more powerful than a digital organizer, while offering quite a few popular options found in portable computers.

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This article was originally published in the November 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Personal Digital Assistants.

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