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PDA Software - Is it Commercially Viable?
Every PDA developer I speak to is scraping around for sales

 2:04 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

As a PDA software product developer we thought that this was a real growth market, but now I'm not so sure. Every PDA developer out there seems to be scraping around for sales and new development seems to be negligeable.

Is this what everybody is seeing. Are PDAs the next big flop following WAP?



 3:38 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ian, I think your perception of the PDA secondary software market is pretty close. IMO, the biggest reason is that the "killer apps" for PDAs come preinstalled - integrated calendar, contacts, notes, to do list; most PDAs come with some other apps, too. Another killer app, updated news content, is available for free via AvantGo.

My impression is that most users are content with the basic functions. Only the more technical and/or obsessive types want to play around with third-party apps. I think the biggest opportunity at the moment may lie in apps that integrate with desktop programs, like ACT! If the PDA owner is already an ACT! user, it's not too big a leap to use the PDA version while out of the office.


 4:34 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

PDA market for software is kinda closed. Personally I havn't paid for one PDA title because all the ones I use and love most came preinstalled. I occassionally goto places like versiontracker and download.com to check out their most frequently downloaded apps but nothing big. If someone tells me enough about one or there is another new neat one out that does something useful for me I'd get it. Like right now the people im around its all about WarDriving with their PDA's so there is PDA wardriving software.


 8:21 pm on Sep 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

I actually paid for two PDA apps: thinkDB and iSilo.

thinkDB, as with any good database program, is incredibly versatile, and I found myself using it for so many things, I wanted to upgrade... so I paid up. iSilo I bought just because it was cheap, and provided a pretty good .doc reader interface with a free html-to-pdb converter utility, so I could make my own docs.

But I think for a PDA app to be commercially viable, it either has to be a can't-live-without-it-once-you've-got-it sort of app (like thinkDB has become for me), it has to be $15 or less (like iSilo), it needs to be targeted towards a high-budget professional market (like doctors, lawyers, etc), or it has to be an add-on or tie-in with a popular/useful desktop app. (and of course, a fairly generous -- 30 days or so -- trial period, for people to get really hooked on the app is a good idea)

If you've invested the time and money in FileMaker Pro on your desktop, having FIleMaker Mobile (or whatever they call it) makes more sense than a less expensive mobile DB app like thinkDB. If you have wireless internet, having a Palm app that will play nicely with your desktop email program would be good...

There are just so many good free programs available for the Palm market (and probably a lot for pocket PC also), that it's really hard to think of any need that isn't already covered by more than one free or shareware software package.

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