What happened to PDAs?

I remember the days when a cell phone was just a phone. It might have a basic calendar app built into the system, or a very crude game or two, but it was just a phone. Then you had the “Personal Data Assistant” devices (or PDAs) first created by Palm with their Palm Pilot which was a stylus-based electronic device for storing appointments, contacts, and was the originator of the “Apps”. The Palm Pilot really took off, followed by Microsoft trying to copy them with their version of the “Palm PC” followed by “Pocket PC” devices. I personally had a series of Palm and Pocket PC devices which co-existed with my basic Nokia cell phone.

Then one day, Palm merged the PDA and cell phone together to create the Palm Treo series which again took off like a shot. Eventually, Microsoft followed suit again with their Windows Mobile OS devices, Apple with their iPhones, and Google with their release of the Android OS for phones. Thus, the birth of the smartphone era began.

So as I hold my latest HTC EVO LTE 4G smartphone in my hand, I ponder: Is it a phone first and a PDA device second, or is it the other way around? I postulate that my smartphone is actually an Internet-connected device first, and a cell phone second. I personally hardly ever use it as a phone to make phone calls. My EVO is used primarily for constant email access, instant messaging, and checking for internet content. I use my EVO for reviewing my calendar (which syncs with Google calendar in the cloud), and for navigation while driving in my car. I also stream music via Google Music in the cloud to my Ford Sync system while driving. In fact, I can connect with my home computer while on the road if I have a fast enough Internet WiFi connection with my phone.

So, this device that I carry around in my pocket is not a phone nor a smartphone, but rather a internet connected device which has the ability to make phone calls as a secondary function. Maybe we should stop calling them smartphones, but rather data devices?

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