PDA or SmartPhone

I got into a debate today about the proper categorization for the Treo 650. Is it a phone? Is it a PDA? Is it a smart phone (or is that smartphone)?

Out of curiosity, I trolled some industry web sites which failed to clear things up:

Cingular (aka at&t) classifies the Blackberry, Treo, and iPaq as ‘PDAs’.

Verizon lumps every type of device under ‘phones’.

Sprint has a category called ‘PDA Phones’.

Palm has three categories of device:
– ‘Handhelds’ including the non-phone devices Z, Zire, and Tungsten.
– ‘Mobile Managers’ which should be in the singular since it only includes the LifeDrive.
– ‘Smartphones’ which is the Treo, their only device with a phone.

HP calls the iPaq a ‘Pocket PC with PDA functionality’. This seems obsolete since Microsoft now categorizes devices as either ‘Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC’ or ‘Windows Mobile-based Smartphones’.

RIM skirts the whole issue by creating their own category of ‘Blackberry Devices’.

For comparison, Flickr creates some interesting clusters of tags related to ‘Treo 650’:

palm, treo, sony, phone, cellphone, palmone, smartphone, gadget, tungsten, clie

hipsterpda, gtd, hipster, desk, lifehacks, office, gettingthingsdone, productivity, hacks

pocketpc, ipaq, mobile, pocket, hp, pc, moblog, keyboard, bluetooth, cameraphone

whatsinyourbag, apple, whatsinmybag, ipod, laptop, bag, newton, computer, ibm, powerbook

And the authorities at Wikipedia say that….

The Treo is a ‘combination hybrid PDA/cellphone … widely acknowledged as one of the most advanced smart phones’.

The Blackberry is a ‘wireless handheld device’.

The iPaq is a ‘Pocket PC and personal digital assistant’.

If nothing else, this exercise would seem to prove that terminology just can’t keep up with technology. I’m choosing not to worry about it too much as this issue will go away fairly soon when all phones become smart.

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