PDA is short for personal digital assistant, a handheld device that combines computing, telephone/fax, Internet and networking features. A typical PDA can function as a cellular phone, fax sender, Web browser and personal organizer. PDAs may also be referred to as a palmtop, hand-held computer or pocket computer.
Unlike portable computers, most PDAs began as pen-based, using a stylus rather than a keyboard for input. This means that they also incorporated handwriting recognition features. Some PDAs can also react to voice input by using voice recognition technologies. PDAs are available in either a stylus or keyboard version.
As technology changed the world of mobile devices, the PDA has become obsolete as devices like touch-screen smartphones and tablets grow in popularity.