Personal Digital Assistants, or PDAs, are handheld computing devices which can also be used for reading ebooks or digital content. Software packages are available to allow users of these handheld computers to read content such as books, short stories and magazine articles on their PDA screens. Below are some of the major PDAs and links to PDA resources.
PDAs were all the rage when this article was first written. Smartphones have since replaced PDAs and software is available to read ebooks on them. For example, Apple provides software for reading books on its iPhone, iPod and iPad devices. Amazon also provides Kindle software for a variety of devices, including smartphones.
Ebook Reader Software
Handspring develops, manufactures and markets the Visor line of handheld computers. Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Palm Computing platform, Handspring developed the Springboard platform, which allows for easy hardware and software expansion. Visors utilize the Palm OS operating system. USB synchronization with your PC allows you to keep your information up to date.
: Palm, Inc., a 3Com company, is a provider of handheld information management solutions, including the popular Palm III, Palm V and Palm VII series of connected organizers. Palm handhelds use the Palm OS operating system. More than 5,000 Palm OS-compatible software applications are available so far.
The Pocket PCs are Windows-powered handheld computers capable of reading email, surfing the Web, listening to music and using Microsoft products including Word and Microsoft Reader. Microsoft developed the software; Pocket PC devices are manufactured by companies, including Casio, Compaq, Hewlett Packard and Symbol.
Publishing for PDAs and Handheld Devices
Because of the popularity of PDAs and handheld devices, numerous methods and software applications to provide content for these devices have emerged. New applications are also continually being developed. If you are interested in publishing for these devices, be sure to visit the resources listed here. You should also familiarize yourself with the languages and tools used to publish ebooks, webpages and wireless content; these applications will also be used for PDAs, and new applications will be based on existing technology. Publishers must also keep in mind that PDAs use two competing operating systems: Microsoft's Windows CE and Palm's PalmOS.
PDA Publishing Resources
AvantGo.com: AvantGo.com allows publishers to provide content for PDAs, for no charge. Also provides a database of PDA content providers.
HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language) Resources: Links to HDML resources and news articles.
Memo Ware: A collection of thousands of documents and literature to be used with your handheld device. Also provides a comprehensive links section, including links to development and software resources.
Palm Programming: The Developer's Guide: A free online book published by O'Reilly about Palm programming.
PDA Street: Resources for handheld developers including software information, articles and news stories.
PocketNow.com: Resources, information, news and columns about PocketPCs.
Visor Central: News, reviews, resources and information for users of the Visor PDA.
Yahoo PDA Software Links: Yahoo's collection of links to PDA software publishers and resources.
Yahoo Windows CE Resources: Yahoo's links to Windows CE resources.