Some PDAs are designed to work with some operating systems better than they are others. Regardless of whether you’re a Mac or PC user, there’s a PDA for you.
Before we can discuss which PDA will best suit your needs, it’s important to understand there are two primary operating systems that run today’s PDAs: Windows Mobile and Palm OS. Both mobile operating systems can synchronize with Macs and PCs, but some make the process easier than others do.
For PC Users
Handhelds that run on the Windows Mobile operating system will synchronize with Windows-based PCs out of the box. Users with Windows XP or earlier versions will use Microsoft ActiveSync to synchronize their handheld. For Windows Vista users, the Windows Mobile Device Center will manage synchronization. Both ActiveSync and the Windows Mobile Device Center are free programs.
Palm PDAs, which run the Palm OS, will also synchronize with PCs out of the box using the included Palm Desktop software. As a result, PC users have complete flexibility when choosing a handheld device to suit their needs.
For Mac Users
Although both Windows Mobile and Palm OS PDAs can synchronize with Mac computers, only Palm devices offer this functionality out of the box. If you’re a Mac user who wants to synchronize with a Windows Mobile PDA, you’ll need to use third-party synchronization software, such as PocketMac. Keep in mind that third-party software can greatly affect your overall user experience, as some features may work better than others do.