Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are a general class of electronic device, specific models of which are made by many manufacturers. BlackBerrys belong to a product line developed by the Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM). All BlackBerry models are considered smartphones. These include the features standard among PDAs into cellular phones, providing users with an all-in-one type of device.
PDAs are handheld devices that come preinstalled with personal organization software including, at minimum, a calendar, address book, to-do list and some of electronic memo pad. They often include a detachable stylus that allows users to select items and input data directly on the screen. To reduce heat and maximize battery power, PDAs use lower power processing units, minimal memory and simple software relative to that found in a personal computer.
One of the more readily apparent differences between PDAs and BlackBerrys is that PDA screens typically take up the majority of the space on the face of the device. Unlike most BlackBerrys, PDAs maximize screen size by including only a few buttons and navigational controls. These generally include buttons for the home menu and frequently used programs. PDAs that support wireless Internet access usually include a button that instantly runs a Web browser. Other advanced features include touch screens that do not require a stylus, external keyboard support and applications that convert handwriting to text.
BlackBerrys have a slightly different form factor than PDAs. They tend to be thicker and palm-sized across the board, whereas PDAs can be as large as a full-sized spiral bound notebook. In addition to cellular phone capabilities and their own versions of the organizational software included on PDAs, BlackBerrys also function as media players. This includes software and data storage space for audio and video content. They also include cameras which (in some models) include video recording capabilities.
Most BlackBerrys come with removable data storage cards. This allows users to easily transfer to and from other devices such as personal computers. As of 2011, these cards can allow for up to 32GB of storage space. BlackBerry has also moved away from stylus technology, opting for designs that use either finger-operated touchscreens, navigational controls or both. Because of their media capabilities, some models include dedicated media buttons on the underside of the phone.Most BlackBerrys also come with GPS capability and map software that can provide users with directions and location information.
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