It’s 2020, I know that PDA’s went the way of the Dodo. With that being said, same could be said of feature phones. Most everyone has a smartphone nowadays and its rare to see a flip phone. I know the Pure was created with the idea of being a secondary device, but reading some responses here on the forums, it’s obvious people want this to be their only device. Back when feature phones were bigger, people also carried around PDAs to stay organized and on top of their goals/schedules. An E-Ink PDA with the same features as those of yesteryear, just updated for 2020 could make for a really compelling product. I mean if an E-Ink typewriter could reach its stretch goal on Kickstarter why couldn’t this? Also it totally feels like it could fit into Mudita’s line up of products. Having more time offline is great, now to just plan it. Would love to hear if anyone else likes this idea.
I like this idea @braillynn. I also wonder how a PDA would differ functionally from either the Mudita Pure or some of the e-ink tablets that exist on the market (e.g., reMarkable 2, Onyx Boox line, Supernote). I’m not disagreeing with the idea (I like it), I just found myself wondering what functionality a modern PDA form-factor would bring that is different than what is currently on the market. Thanks for you idea!
Well for my modern PDA idea, it would be about the size of a smaller smartphone with a built in cover. There would also be an area at the bottom of it that could house a stylist. It would have a purpose built operating system that would have great features for things like calendars, contacts, the ability to do email, but no web browser. A built in speaker or piezo buzzer to remind you of notifications. Could include applications like a calculator, an audio player for listening to audio books. A voice recorder for taking down memos. A journal, a notes application, a to-do list application. Pretty much anything that can help you stay productive while offline(minus email, but maybe not) and have an e-ink display to make it less addictive to your brain. Would need to be pretty slim so as to fit in a business persons jacket pocket, or a woman’s purse or a pair of jeans.
I like it. I’ve used small paper notebooks for years and would love to have a small e-ink device with a stylus and some additional electronic functionalities. Having one with Mudita’s philosophy of design and functionality would be fantastic!
I agree, it’s a shame PDAs died away. I was looking at buying some old one, recently.
The modern PDA exists as a smartphone without a SIM card and in Airplane Mode. Calendaring, note-taking, etc. all work when offline. Battery life is much better without the radios on. Just bring it online once daily to sync your stuff, and you can emulate the best days of the Palm Pilot.
Thank you all for quite interesting ideas and comments.
Some time ago I was reading a lot about soldier e-ink military PDA utilizing a flexible e-ink display and some proprietary battery management software. As I could read it weighed less than one pound but runs for 6 hours off a single charge, while still providing Ethernet, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity.
Quite an interesting idea
This seems like it could also be sort of a sideways solution to the smartphone thread. Instead of building a more connected and traditional smartphone with a traditional smartphone OS and maybe some constraints, build some of those features that people are looking for into a PDA companion instead (with added miniature e-reader benefits!)
Sure, it’s two devices instead of one, but between them both it might still come out under the cost of your average Apple/Samsung/Google device, and includes those things people might be looking for beyond the functionality the Pure has as an optional secondary device. Throw in a wallet case option as well to help cut down on the consumption of pocket space, perhaps.
Would be a good use of that same kind of e-note technology you see in things like the Remarkable or Onyx Boox line, though I don’t know if a small enough e-ink display with active pen support exists yet. I always like to see that kind of pen support on devices these days, regardless. Could even just be a less-smart version of an e-ink smartphone at that point, really. Take out the cellular bits. Keep the PDA style features. Sync with Pure over USB-C which doubles as adding that internet connection for remote syncing or possibly even a backup of the phone data to the PDA during that connection.
Given the choice I might actually go for the Pure and a PDA over a smartphone, just for the sake of being able to leave the one device behind if I so choose and spend a day with that more limited functionality. An all in one device makes it harder to ignore or distance yourself from those kinds of things because they’re always present, whether you’re connected or not.
Edit: An extra thought I’m going to throw in. If this was running a stripped down and simplistic Linux installation you could also bundle in the sync software, turning the PDA into a secondary backup device instead of having to rely on access to a computer to make a safe copy of the data on your Pure, or even just as a redundant backup option. It probably wouldn’t take too much to spin this out of a smartphone design, save a little on the development costs, and offer it at a lower price point for those users who don’t want a full smartphone (or maybe even reward early supporters with a discount for it, similar to the phone).
Edit 2, because I’m alight with ideas at the moment: Just give it a small amount of internal storage (even something low cost like EMMC, 16-32GB probably more than enough for all the basic functions and some flexible room for extras) and then SD card expansion just in case it’s needed for storing downloaded music/podcasts/backups/etc in large amounts when connecting to the Pure.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will make sure to share it with our Design Team too.
I own a Unihertz Titan, a very niche phone that replaced my beloved BlackBerry Passport as the last ties of BBOS 13 to the modern world were cut when the old Dropbox API was phased out.
For me, it is the PDA of the modern era.
The 1:1 Display form factor still cannot be beat for both productivity (email and messaging) as and we’ll as reading (PDF attachments (e.g. contracts etc.) are easily readable without zooming the pinch and zoom you have to do on modern phones.
Reading newspapers and ebooks is a joy as well.
Switching the display to EINK would be a welcome improvement for me.
I would absolutely trade all my colour for sunlight readability and less eyestrain.
However, I realise that this would make this product even more niche and less feasible to produce for any manufacturer.
We can dream right? Also the Blackberry Passport was my favorite phone ever! Wish there was a modern revision of that phone.
I definitely agree on the aspect ratio lines. The design I’m working on is aiming for the more recently common 3:2 aspect ratio. I find that’s a really good balance for productivity and web content, even if web content isn’t really involved here. Also nice for reading. 16:9 and 16:10 which are more common in smartphones/laptops these days due to video/gaming content I think would just detract from a line of e-ink devices that aren’t really made for video or gaming.
Do you really think so?
I use to have a Blackberry Passport. But it is also a phone like a smartphone, only with a QWERTY keyboard. The question remains how to combine certain functionalities to obtain a device that will be with us but will not take our attention.