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PDAs still evolving

PDAs still evolving

While users are still not convinced there is an ubiquitous future for handheld Internet access, developers have no such trepidation about the role of personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Vendors continue to display a gung-ho attitude, rolling out new product releases and tailoring their products to specific niches.

The latest release heralded for November comes from Franklin Electronic Publishers and represents a major challenge to the publishing industry.

The eBookMan supports MP3, voice memo, personal organiser functions and audio book player.

Franklin has priced the offering to target consumer and educational verticals, and is trying to promote the offering to a broad market.

With content provided as downloads via the Franklin Web site, the eBookMan has the potential to give users access to dynamic content. However, at this stage the Web site is US based and provides limited titles.

On the developer front, PDA vendor Palm announced it had signed its 100,000th registered developer - Archnid Web Design in Pennsylvania - a company which is integrating Palm PDAs into a corporate fleet application.

Developer figures have doubled in the last six months and grown 625 per cent in the past year. Interestingly, from a global point of view, Palm claims 42 per cent of these developers are from non-US markets with "more than 5,000 from the Asia-Pacific region".

According to Lesley McKnight, Palm Sales Australia's marketing manager, Australia has played an increasing role in the "Palm economy".

"This growth has been driven by the number of Palm handhelds in Australia, which has increased the opportunity for developers in the marketplace," McKnight said.

"Developers have also found Palm to be a fun product to work with in creating solutions."


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