3G stands for the third generation of wireless technology, and it is a set of standards for wireless communication. PDA stands for personal digital assistant, and these are portable devices used for organizing, scheduling, and keeping track of important contact information, among other things. A 3G PDA is basically a personal digital assistant device that is up to par with the 3G standards. They are generally more capable for networking applications than PDAs based around older standards.
PDA devices have also been called palmtops, and they are basically very small computers. Some of them have full QWERTY keyboards—devices containing a standard typewriter keyboard layout—that slide out, and they usually have a stylus of some kind along with a touch screen. Over time, the devices have generally dropped in price, and this has been helpful in opening up the market to a wider subset of people. Network-based technology gradually became a more important part of PDA design and use, and this eventually led to the development of 3G PDA devices.
The 3G standard has generally been desirable among people who own cell phones and other kinds of portable communication technology. Its biggest advantage is that it allows for cellular network use at a speed that is comparable to broadband systems like digital subscriber line (DSL) or cable-based Internet. This is a big improvement over older cellular technologies. PDAs are often used like small computers, and access to 3G-compatible network technology can be a useful feature. People who own a 3G PDA can surf the web much faster and more easily access online media.
A 3G PDA can generally be useful for people in many different walks of life. They have often been marketed to business professionals, but the devices have also become more popular among college students and others with a need for portable communication. Sometimes people buy 3G PDA devices purely for personal use, and they may primarily use them to check email, post on social networking sites, or play games.
The earliest devices that function like PDAs were developed in the 1980s. They did not have any network-based features and were generally used purely for organizing data, keeping track of things, and doing math calculations. A person might carry them to work and use them to take notes or schedule tasks, and some people used them as electronic address books. In the 1990s, the devices started gradually becoming more sophisticated and powerful, with many different companies competing to improve the technology and capture consumers' attention.