Users see handhelds as powerful tools: survey

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Handheld users are looking for a range of functionality in their ideal devices, according to a recent survey.

Handheld users are looking for a range of functionality in their ideal devices, according to a recent survey.

The survey, carried out by database company Sybase, looked at issues such as what users wanted in a dream handheld device. Peter Fletcher, managing director at Sybase Australia and New Zealand, said handhelds had become powerful business and personal tools, describing the devices as "penetrating the way we work and play”.

“In addition to their normal PDA features, handheld users want a device with an iPod-size memory to play and store music and other content, email functionality, GPS, phone, compact size and a larger screen,” Fletcher said.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents had bought their PDA themselves, with nine percent of those surveyed receiving their device from their employer and 13 percent receiving it as a gift.

Among the must-have functionality respondents wanted in their dream handheld were a calendar/contact list, easy syncronisation with PCs, great battery life, email/messaging and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth.

Seventy percent of respondents had downloaded four or more applications, while 34 percent of those surveyed had downloaded 10 or more. In addition, 31 percent of those surveyed had used paid location-based or travel applications such as event, restaurant or movie listings.

“The findings indicate that location-based applications are likely to fuel the next wave of handheld functionality, feeding users' seemingly never-ending appetite for applications and add-ons to personalise their handheld devices,” according to Fletcher.

According to a statement from Sybase, more than 3000 people responded to the survey worldwide, with over 600 respondents from Australia and Asia-Pacific.

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