PDA News – New cases, PDAs create stress, Handheld market down to two?

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New TH55 and Zire 72 metal cases

It seems like an eternity since we had new case releases… And of course, now that I’ve said that, they’ll probably start avalanching in, starting with Proporta’s new aluminum hardcases for the Sony CLIE TH55 and palmOne Zire 72.



Handhelds, laptops, and phones ‘create stress’, study says

From the BBC:

Using such gadgets in meetings is regarded as inappropriate and distracting for others, research by the University of Surrey reveals.

The problem with this study is that it doesn’t define ‘meeting’. It doesn’t discern between a four hour meeting filled with more people than a Red Sox game listening to Mort from accounting talk about the price of laser toner, versus a one on one sit-down with someone who will instantly be on their phone if you pause to breathe.

More than half of those surveyed believed it was inappropriate to use any form of IT equipment in a meeting or when talking to another person at work.

‘More than half?’ Why not just come out and say, ‘the people who are being ignored?’

Only 11% thought it was acceptable for a mobile phone to be switched on during a meeting.

More than 80% felt it was inappropriate to look at or send text messages when with others.

Some 60% of respondents said there were informal workplace rules for the use of IT equipment, while two out of five said the use of mobile phones was not allowed.

And yet some of these people will never consider the idea that there is a reason that the meetings are being ignored.

Professor Michael Warren, of the University of Surrey, said: “We become stressed and impatient when we can’t reach someone, yet we resent distractions and can become angry when our own meetings are interrupted by a mobile phone.”

“I’m afraid the research shows that we all want to have our cake and eat it.”



Brighthand: Handheld market down to two?

Brighthand has an interesting new article that effectively narrates the history of handheld computers before concluding that the handheld market is dead, the only remaining players are PalmOne and HP, and that smartphones are the future.

There’s an old saying about journalism: “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.” That’s pretty much what this article boils down to, storytelling. I think it’s all really said by the last paragraph, in which the author blithely dismisses Dell, Toshiba, Asus, and all the rest as ‘niche players, if they survive at all,’ and repeats the infinitely recycled conventional unwisdom about smartphones and iPods being the future. The fact is that despite Sony’s withdrawl from the NorthAm and European markets, lower prices and improved capabilities mean that there is still far more competition in the handheld market now than there was at the hight of the ‘Big Six’ brands referenced in the article.

Despite claims to the contrary, the handheld market is far from dead. If Ford had sold a few million automobiles, then decided that the market was dead because everyone who needed a car now had one, what would have happened? The handheld market is not saturated, it has barely begun its growth. There are a hundred million potential users in the United States alone. To expect the market to completely saturate in the last couple of years when hardware has been reaching the practical level is more than a little silly. This isn’t 1998, and handhelds aren’t as essential yet as desktop PCs. If anything, there’s been an explosion of new options that are helping to keep the market moving forward and evolving. PCs were around for a long time before they became a staple, likewise for mobile phones, and I think that the people continuously predicting death for the handheld market are failing to learn from history.




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