Society for the Preservation of the True PDA (SPTPDA): May 2004
Last May I started using a SONY CLIE PEG TJ-27. It often lives in my front pants pocket. This is a very inhospitable environment for an electronic device, but for me the entire value of a PDA is portability and availability. I don't carry a purse, and it's useless in my backpack. I've had phones on my belt, and that's at least as bad.
The Palm III and Palm Vx devices I had survived in this harsh environment for years. Even the Tungsten T did pretty well.
Today, seven months after buying the CLIE TJ-27, I happened to notice that 3 of the 4 screws that hold it together were missing. In other words, it's about to come apart. It's design is not suited the pocket environment. It's too bulky, and screws don't work when a device is subject to regular flection stress. Fortunately I have an old JVC "walkman" tape device that died about 20 years ago; it's a rich source of small screws. They will substitute for the missing CLIE screws. (BTW, some of the original SONY CLIE screws cannot be tightened with a conventional tool. Ahh, genius at work.)
The phone or PDA vendors don't have a handle on the portability issue. There are versions of the Blackberry that might have the belt problem licked, but I've no personal experience with them. The last device I had that solved the portability issue, other than the Palm Vx, was my old pager.
Fundamentally this is not a priority for most of (dwindling) base of PDA customers. The PDA, might be a "Personal Digital Assistant", but at least for men resisting purses it's not a "Portable Digital Assistant". The same can be said of most cell phones.