Three for the Road

Test-drive the new PDAs: they call, they browse, they e-mail and make music

Remember when hand-held computer gadgets were cool? When strangers on a bus would cast envious--or at least curious--glances at geeks and road warriors tapping away on their Palms and Blackberries? Lately the novelty has worn thin. With look-alikes proliferating and disposable income shrinking, sales of pricey personal digital assistants (PDAs) have sagged.

But things may be picking up in PDA land. The latest models have new personality and a lot more pizazz, thanks to smarter designs and slick add-ons like phones and cameras. The new features should help drive sales up 18% annually during the next five years, according to estimates...

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