Mobile Future

Old MacDonald had a PDA

PDA’s have long since shed their stereotype as toys for the rich and famous.  One in five wireless customers during the past several months signed up for a PDA and even in these tight economic times, sales of smartphones are expected to increase 25 percent this year.  Now, as CNN points out, PDA users increasingly are found midway between Wall Street and Rodeo Drive – on farms in Nebraska:  

[Farmer Steve Tucker] is proof that smartphones are starting to put down roots in rural America.  He lives in a 150-person town near Brandon, Nebraska — a place even he calls “the middle of nowhere.” The nearest neighbor to his 4,000-acre farm is about 2 miles away.  Yet, farmers like Tucker are using Internet-enabled phones to gain a foothold on online social networks — both for business and personal reasons.  

CNN details how the PDA is benefiting farmers – giving them access to real-time weather reports, tracking pesticide use, and monitoring how much water is in the soil.  Not surprisingly, social network use is accelerating (check out agchat on Twitter Tuesdays from 8 to 10 PM).   

PDAs also help farmers like Tucker swap photos of diseased plants to figure out treatment.  

This is great news for rural Americans, who are enjoying fast, new links to the rest of the country.  Thanks to a growing number of wireless apps, America’s “amber waves of grain” are only a tweet away.