Reuters via eWeek: Sony Corp. said on Wednesday it would stop making personal digital assistants for Japan in July, completing its withdrawal from a market hit by multi-functional cellphones and casting a shadow over the tools’ growth potential. The move was widely expected after the electronics and entertainment conglomerate said last year it would stop selling new handheld digital assistants outside Japan. […] "The PDA market is being encroached by cellphones and other mobile devices that can offer similar functions, making it difficult for PDAs to maintain their position in the market," a Sony spokeswoman said.
To close observers of the market, this news won’t be any surprise. The report says it all – the PDA market is being encroached by cellphones and other mobile devices that can offer similar functions.
I’ve still got a first-generation Compaq iPAQ 3630 which has now been sitting in a desk drawer for at least a year (maybe I should re-purpose it as a search engine belt buckle). I’ve even got an old Palm Pilot in another desk drawer. I just don’t use a PDA any more, even with the feature-rich newer devices on the market.
Why? Because I’ve got PCs. I’ve got a mobile phone. And it’s such a pain having to synchronize your diary, email, contacts, files, etc, between many different devices. Currently I have a primary laptop plus a secondary one I use when I’m in outside meetings or away on the road. Keeping those two sync’d is plenty. It’s actually no big deal to turn on the laptop to quickly find an email, get a contact name or look up a phone number. The one I use for traveling is usually in standby or hibernate mode, so bringing it back up is pretty quick.
Yet I really would like to have a convenient mobile device. The thing is, the one I’d like to have isn’t made yet.
What I’d like is a mobile device that, at minimum, has all these attributes:
- lets me make and receive phone calls wherever in the world I am, automatically finding the correct network type
- has hands-free capability
- no-hassle connecting with my service provider wherever I am (the closest to that in my experience is Vodafone – everywhere I go, I can find a Vodafone network)
- sends and receives multimedia SMS messages
- takes photos and lets me record video
- enables me to send and receive email, files, video, etc,
- lets me easily synchronize whatever stuff I want to and from my PCs wirelessly – no cables, cradles or anything like that, nor Bluetooth, just wi-fi
- be Windows Mobile based
- has loads of memory (storage) capacity
- lets me listen to podcasts and music with nice comfortable headphones
- maybe play a game or two
- it must look really cool
- be truly affordable
And, all in a package no bigger than an iPod Mini. It can be a clamshell or a slide-cover design, I don’t mind.
Oh wait, I think something close to such a device may be coming soon…