PDA’s US army
The U.S. Army is sending more than three hundred Commander’s Digital Assistant (CDA) hand held computers to Iraq with platoon leaders and company commanders later this year. This CDA is a new design, based on experience with CDAs sent to Iraq last year. The CDA is basically a militarized PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, like the Palm). PDA technology is changing so fast, especially by traditional military procurement standards, that the army expects to have a new version of the CDA every year or so. The 2005 model (shipping out later this year) will have satellite phone capability and be able to download maps, along with instructions overlayed on the maps. The army is taking advantage of cheaper, and more compact, memory available to provide this vital map download feature. It’s now possible to equip a PDA with a gigabyte, or more, of flash (like used in digital cameras) memory. Most users are unaware of the fact that their cell phones, PDAs and iPods have all become, basically, hand held computers. All of these use the StrongArm or XScale CPU, a processor chip designed years ago for small devices, and continually updated (and now owned by Intel, which supplies over 80 percent of the CPUs for laptops and desktop computers.) Some PDAs, like the iPaqs, have long been considered handheld computers, using a PDA version of the Windows operating system and PDA versions of WORD and Excel. Even the iPod MP3 player has an operating system, display manager, database manager, hard drive hardware and software and digital sound hardware and software.