Brand Loyalty And The Ideal PDA

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A survey of AvantGo users has found that most users will buy a PDA with the same operating system again. It also found 12 features most users would want in an “ideal” PDA.

The survey of 3260 AvantGo users conducted over PDAs and smart phones found that 85% of Pocket PC users and 82% of Palm users would stick with the same operating system they were currently using on their next PDA.

This doesn’t seem surprising to me; I think there would have to be significant improvements (or pretty bad problems) to get most people to give up the familiarity with their current OS. Pocket PCs had those advantages in the past (better resolution, multimedia capabilities, standard memory expansion slots, etc.), but that gap has mostly disappeared.

The list of features people wanted in their PDAs, in order of popularity, breaks down as follows:

1. Calendar/contact list

2. Easily syncs with PC

3. Great battery life

4. E-mail/messaging

5. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth

6. Compact size

7. MP3 player

8. Phone

9. Large screen

10. GPS locator

11. 20+ gigabyte memory

12. Camera

One interesting point in the survey was that, despite 76% of respondents wanting a phone in their PDA, only 31% said they would buy one. That means over 2/3rds of the people will be buying a regular PDA as their next device. To me, that says either people don’t think the extra cost is currently worth it or the benefits of converged devices aren’t sufficient yet.

More details can be found at Mobile Village.

I’ve stuck with Windows CE-based PDAs (both Handheld PCs and Pocket PCs) for about six years now. If I were to rank my list of features, here’s what I’d pick:

1. Calendar/contact list

2. Easily syncs with PC

3. Great battery life

4. Web browsing capability

5. E-mail/messaging (including instant messaging)

6. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth (these wouldn’t make sense without the previous two items)

7. GPS locator

8. MP3 player

9. Multiple expansion slots (preferably three, either two CF and one SDIO or two SDIO and one CF)

10. Phone (more for data connectivity anywhere than making phone calls)

11. Large screen (although “large” is ambiguous)

12. 20+ gigabyte memory (I don’t need that much yet; 5 GB should be sufficient)

13. Compact size (I carried an iPAQ in a dual PC Card sleeve)

14. Camera (dependent on the quality; I have a VGA camera phone already)

Will you stick with the same operating system in your next PDA, or would you rather switch? What featues make up your ideal PDA? Share your thoughts in the discussion.

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About The Author
Steve Mueller