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Definition: PDA

(Personal Digital Assistant) An earlier handheld computer for managing contacts, appointments and tasks. Performing the functions of a computer-based personal information manager (see PIM), PDAs were superseded by smartphones, which provide PDA functions along with everything else (see smartphone).

Newton, the Pioneer - Palm, the Revolution
In 1993, Apple's pen-based MessagePad, commonly known as the "Newton," was the pioneer in this field, and then-Apple CEO John Sculley actually coined the term PDA. However, PalmPilots, introduced three years later, popularized the technology. See Newton, Palm Incorporated and personal communicator.

The Newton
Ahead of its time, Apple's Newton pioneered the PDA concept in 1993 and later spun off Newton, Inc. to specialize in the technology. Menus were tapped and text was entered with a stylus. (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)

The PalmPilot
Introduced in 1996, the PalmPilot was the first model of the Palm family, which started a revolution in handheld organizers. (Image courtesy of palmOne, Inc.)

Palm Treo
In 2002, the Palm Treo was a phone and PDA in one unit. Along with the BlackBerry, this was the start of combining applications with a phone. (Image courtesy of Palm, Inc.)