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The same digital storage technologies that led to the iPod also have revolutionized the PDA industry. Most PDAs used flash memory rather than hard drives. Flash memory makes PDAs tough enough to drop and still work. But it also limits storage capacity to no more than 20 MB. Now many PDAs are incorporating SD/MMC/CF cards -- the same cards used in many compact digital cameras. The cards let users increase the PDA memory capacity through removeable digital media. Better storage has spawned popular new uses for the PDA, including photography and listening to MP3 music clips.
Now Palm has taken the PDA to the next level with its Lifedrive series. These PDAs include a hard drive, instead of flash memory. Hard drives greatly increase PDA storage capacity. But the hard drives also make the PDA more vulnerable to catastrophic failure due to rough handling.
Bottom line: New storage technologies have greatly expand the capabilities of the PDA, including digital photography and storage and MP3 storage and play.