Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Jul 2011 22:56 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Today, the technology world is gripped by what can only be described as a dirty war between iOS on one side, and Android on the other. While the parties in this war fight it out in the US court system, the web has latched onto this conflict like a starved leach to a nice juicy ankle, and this focus on just iOS and Android has had a rather unpleasant side effect. This effect was subtle at first, but now, it's everywhere. Yes, if you were to believe the web, iOS and/or Android invented everything when it comes to mobile operating systems. I will have none of that, and my PDA collection begs to differ too.
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Newton
by lezerno on Thu 21st Jul 2011 23:24 UTC
lezerno
Member since:
2009-09-02

Maybe I should send you my original Apple Newton, then your collection would truly beg to differ. I just saw it in storage the other day and would like to give it to someone who would use it.

Edited 2011-07-21 23:28 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Heh
by WorknMan on Thu 21st Jul 2011 23:31 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

IMHO, Palm and Pocket PCs are to iOS/Android what Street Fighter 1 and earlier '1 on 1' fighting games are to Street Fighter 2. Sure, there were some that blazed a trail, but then others came along and did it right ;)

Yeah, I remember those early PDAs, but I do not have a particular fondness for them, just like I don't have a particular fondness for Street Fighter 1.

Disclaimer: I have never tried an Apple Newton.

Edited 2011-07-21 23:33 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Heh
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 04:31 UTC in reply to "Heh"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

You don't like Street Fighter 1? It was the first good one. SF2 was better, no doubt, but man I spent just as much time playing the first as the second.

I think the newton was pretty nice. My friend took all of his class notes on it. I was green with envy. Nothing looked good to me after that until the pocket pc devices of 2004 came about with qwerty keypads. Then again not until the iphone was hacked/rooted, maybe 2009 it started getting good.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Heh
by WorknMan on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 05:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Heh"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

You don't like Street Fighter 1? It was the first good one. SF2 was better, no doubt, but man I spent just as much time playing the first as the second.


Well, I didn't HATE it ;) I mean, it wasn't terrible by any means. But once SF2 came out and improved upon it in pretty much every way imaginable, there just wasn't much to remember SF1 for, other than that it came first.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Heh
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 14:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Heh"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, I think mortal combat, clay fighter, and killer instinct were better than SF2, but I still have a fondness for SF2 due to the time I spent playing it. I guess I do like things for when they occurred just as much as what they were.

Reply Score: 2

Tandy Zoomer
by galvanash on Thu 21st Jul 2011 23:44 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

This is the one PDA (I had quite a few, including a newton and a few palm and Windows Mobile devices) that I remember most fondly. Not because it was so great - but because it was an endearing oddball at the time:

1. It predates the Palm and Windows Mobile revolution by quite a margin. At the time it's only contemporary was the Newton (which was faster and overall had a nicer user experience - but Newtons where bulkier and had horrible battery life in comparison).

2. It was at least partially PC compatible (it had a NEC V20 processor, which is an 8088 clone). As such it could run many command line DOS applications (yes, I realize this is kind of a strange capability for a handheld device with no keyboard - I did say it was an oddball).

3. It has a conventional run-of-the-mill RS-232 serial port (it was not a standard connector, but it cam with an adapter for 9-pin serial connections). USB didn't exist yet, so having a port that was compatible with at least some PC devices was neat (it worked with many standard modems). It also had a wireless infrared port (also RS-232 based) and could communicate with PCs equipped with an infrared serial adapter (which was ironically never made available but there were some 3rd party ones that could be made to work). It could even access AOL over a modem (which at the time anyway was pretty neat).

4. Jeff Hawkins founded Palm Computing more or less on this device - Palm's first real commercial endeavor was writing the applications that shipped with the Zoomer, so the Zoomer was sort of an ancestor of the Palm Pilot.

5. It's operating system was an only slightly modified version of PC-GEOS v2.0 (which in and of itself is reason to fascinate an OS geek). It unfortunately could not run some GEOS apps well because the pen I/O subsystem for GEOS didn't really exist outside of the Zoomer and many apps expected a keyboard interface - and the screen size often posed problems. That said there were a few exceptions and for a while there some hobbyist who endeavored to write a few GEOS apps (and simple DOS apps) for the Zoomer (some of which were quite useful).

It also had an optional software package (produced and sold under the Palm Computing Brand) that gave you more or less a version of all the Zoomer Applications to run on your PC. The cool part was it was really pretty much a bog standard install of PC-GEOS, just with Palm's Zoomer apps bundled into it. It was quite fun to play with (it could run pretty much any app compatible with PC-GEOS as it was PC-GEOS). The PC Zoomer Apps essentially all operated on the same data that the Zoomer Apps themselves generated, so synchs worked both ways. It was kind of like how modern devices synch with Outlook, except instead of Outlook you just had desktop versions of the same apps the mobile device ran.

Anyway, the little thing fascinated me endlessly. It was slow, the handwriting recognition was so bad you could basically say it didn't work at all (Palm latter released a version (the very first version) of graffiti for it - but it was too late), the list of problems with it was a mile long. But regardless of all its issues it had it's endearing qualities.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Tandy Zoomer
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 21st Jul 2011 23:58 UTC in reply to "Tandy Zoomer"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes, the Zoomer will definitely be in the PalmOS article. Thank for sharing these details, galvanash!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Tandy Zoomer
by smashIt on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 00:38 UTC in reply to "Tandy Zoomer"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

4. Jeff Hawkins founded Palm Computing more or less on this device - Palm's first real commercial endeavor was writing the applications that shipped with the Zoomer, so the Zoomer was sort of an ancestor of the Palm Pilot.


iirc the zoomer was the first product of palm, but they didn't manufacture and sell it, they licensed it to tandy and casio (didn't tandy own palm?)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Tandy Zoomer
by galvanash on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 02:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Tandy Zoomer"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

iirc the zoomer was the first product of palm, but they didn't manufacture and sell it, they licensed it to tandy and casio (didn't tandy own palm?)


My understanding (though I could be wrong) was that Hawkins approached Tandy with the concept for this device shortly after Tandy bought GRiD (Hawkins was originally employed by GRiD). Tandy suggested that Hawkins incorporate his own company to proceed with the project, preferring to farm out the responsibilities in the form of a partnership. Palm was created to work on the software. GRiD and/or Tandy already had a license to use GEOS so they were approached to work on the OS end of things, and Casio was brought in to work on the hardware. I don't think Tandy ever actually owned Palm though...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Tandy Zoomer
by Lennie on Sat 23rd Jul 2011 23:00 UTC in reply to "Tandy Zoomer"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Ofcourse there should be a device on the list with PC-GEOS, that makes perfect sense to me.

Reply Score: 2

I had a few, too
by coreyography on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 01:44 UTC
coreyography
Member since:
2009-03-06

A couple of PalmOS devices (a 22 and a 71) and a Samsung Omnia smartphone which I had flashed to WinMo 6.5 at the time I went to Android. I liked them all, though I was more likely to have the Omnia with me than either of the the Palms, simply because it was also my phone. I've given away or recycled all of them (the batteries died on all of them).

I have a castoff iPaq, too, that I was going to get the SD card/battery/whatever sleeve for and run Lnux on, but that was about the time I got the Omnia and I subsequently felt less positive about the expense of those upgrades. But it still works.

My girlfriend's all-time fav phone was her Treo 650, even though she now has a Nexus One.

My biggest problem going back now is that today's hardware is so much more capable that I miss it with the vintage stuff, particularly the screen resolution.

Reply Score: 1

RE: I had a few, too
by coreyography on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 01:45 UTC in reply to "I had a few, too"
coreyography Member since:
2009-03-06

As a side note, looking at all your old devices does make the patent suit nonsense all the more ridiculous.

Reply Score: 1

Clie Backlight
by tessmonsta on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 01:45 UTC
tessmonsta
Member since:
2009-07-16

Hold down the power button when the handheld is awake until the backlight turns on.

Reply Score: 1

Huh?
by ourcomputerbloke on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 01:52 UTC
ourcomputerbloke
Member since:
2011-05-12

...the Newton was not the first PDA, not the first pen input device, and not the first device with handwriting recognition. In other words, it's not special because it was a 'first'.


I still don't quite get this reasoning.

Development of the Newton platform started in 1987

Palm Computing, Inc., was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins ... to create a PDA for consumers, called the Zoomer (1993).

Not my words, readily searchable information. So if Apple were developing the Newton before Palm even existed, assuming that Palm had a similar schedule for the development of the Zoomer and therefore it had been in development for a similar amount of time before they actually existed as a company, doesn't this suggest that Apple was in the game at least at the same time developing Newton technology?

And what in the world does the number of units sold have to do with the fact that they developed the technology back then? How does that equate to "standing on the shoulders of giants"? Especially considering NewtonOS was written from scratch entirely in C++, unlike the Zoomer's OS which, as someone else here has already pointed out was a modified PC-GEOS, and NewtonOS was a fully object oriented environment having much more in common with today's mobile platforms than PC-GEOS.

This piece reads like a Murdoch publication where only facts supporting the agenda of the article are taken into consideration.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Huh?
by galvanash on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 02:14 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I'm not arguing with your premise... The Zoomer and the Newton were released within months of each other (the Newton on Aug 3rd, 1993, I think the Zoomer was like a month or 2 later but I can't find a definitive release date.

To be fair though I see this as an example of independent convergence. Both devices were the end result of a long chain of developments that were entirely unreleated to each other, they just happened to land in more or less the same place at the same time. Neither were influenced much by the other imo until very close to the end. Just saying I don't see the Zoomer as a "response" to the Newton, or the other way around.

Edited 2011-07-22 02:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Huh?
by smashIt on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 02:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Huh?"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

The Zoomer and the Newton were released within months of each other (the Newton on Aug 3rd, 1993, I think the Zoomer was like a month or 2 later but I can't find a definitive release date.


according to
http://www.8bit-micro.com/tandy-zoomer-z-pda.htm
the zoomer was released in '92

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Huh?
by galvanash on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 04:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Huh?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I don't think that is right. I have seen that date reported as well in other places, but Palm didn't incorporate until 1992 - I would find it hard to believe they could go from nothing to a shipping product in less than a year.

This article reports the release as Oct 1993.

http://kevinboudreau.com/CASE_Palm_Licensing.pdf

I don't have proof that it is correct, but the timing sounds right as I remember seeing a Newton prior to the Zoomer release (I actually worked at Radio Shack when the Zoomer came out, so I remember the release well, just not the date).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Huh?
by Carewolf on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 18:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Huh?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Couldn't Palm have been a normal company before incorporating? If you have enough investors already it makes sense to reveal the company for trading once you have a product on the market.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Huh?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 05:25 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You do realise there are more companies than just Palm and Apple, right?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Huh?
by kovacm on Sun 24th Jul 2011 09:10 UTC in reply to "Huh?"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

...the Newton was not the first PDA, not the first pen input device, and not the first device with handwriting recognition. In other words, it's not special because it was a 'first'.


I still don't quite get this reasoning.

Development of the Newton platform started in 1987

Palm Computing, Inc., was founded in 1992 by Jeff Hawkins ... to create a PDA for consumers, called the Zoomer (1993).... ...


and Atari had STPad in 1991. ;) (although only as prototype)... http://www.maedicke.de/atari/hardware/stpad.htm

at the end, all this shit does not count!
what's count is that Apple undoubtedly move PDA/SmartPhones, with iOS devices, to entirely NEW level! This is FACT. period.

...first Android devices was keyboard oriented like BlackBerry, Nokie E61... Android shift to multitouch paradigm only after iPhone being hot seller.

so, yes please, COPY Apple as much as you can *coz they move things forward* (in right direction) !



btw I did not even know that there was StreetFighter 1 !!! ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7SRcUrpU-s

great comparison with PalmOS and iOS ;) ;) ;) !

(- "Why the f--k is England's little red ball in Scotland?"
- "I guess the Japanese aren't that good at geography."
*from youtube comments ;) )

Edited 2011-07-24 09:23 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Bah
by Alfman on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 03:03 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Why does it matter who was first to do X and Y? The tablet is a natural step in the evolution of miniaturized computing. Even star trek thought up the tablet before any of these bickering bozos.


Frankly, the US (my home of 30 years) will continue to bleed in the world economy as it continues on it's path to litigious governance and business policy. There are so many greedy leaches here, both in terms of the political elite and corporate boardrooms, that those of us remaining in productive roles cannot carry the economy.

Edit: Good luck, rest of world, I only hope that the bureaucracy responsible for poisoning the US isn't contagious.

Edited 2011-07-22 03:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 06:11 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Would also be interested in seeing a Nokia Communicator 9110, as it ran GEOS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_9000_Communicator

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Kroc
by zima on Tue 26th Jul 2011 23:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Maybe also Psion Series 3, 5, or Revo. An era when pre-Symbian wasn't loathed, apparently ;)

(and going further into history of such type of PDAs, maybe even Cambridge Z88 ...or Psion Organiser?)

Reply Score: 1

Not going back far enough...
by cwaig_g on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 07:32 UTC
cwaig_g
Member since:
2009-11-30

I don't think Thom's collection really goes back far enough. The first time I saw what would be the predecessor of the PDA was the Sharp PC1211
http://mycalcdb.free.fr/main.php?l=0&id=1597

- my friend had one on the school bus back in mid 80's (he got it cheap after it'd been discontinued).

But the real predecessor of the modern PDA & Smartphone has to be the Psion series. Symbian started as EPOC on the Psion organiser in 1984 (I still remember one of the guys at school trying to convince me that EPOC was the future - he could easily have been right if the ball hadn't been right royally dropped by Sony Ericsson and Nokia decades later). Plus Psion had the best design for a mobile device keyboard ever (can't believe it was never licensed out to other firms after Psion exitted the market - that sliding hinge was a work of genius).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not going back far enough...
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 07:48 UTC in reply to "Not going back far enough..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm still fleshing out how, exactly, the series is going to look, but one thing's pretty clear: I'm going to start with a sort-of 'pre-history' article first, where I detail devices like this. At first, I just wanted to integrate that into the PalmOS/etc. articles, but I think it deserves an article all unto itself.

In addition, I might not spread this out in separate articles, but instead, in one large article. Still debating this!

Reply Score: 1

cwaig_g Member since:
2009-11-30

The article as is was good - it just needs to go back a little further - nice to see a Zaurus in there though - I loved my SL5500 and SL6000 (now that was a brick and a half) - anyone ever use IRK? that was mine ;)

One more for the list would be the Atari Portfolio (1989), which was an MSDOS compatible clamshell PDA form factor.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not going back far enough...
by smashIt on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 18:27 UTC in reply to "Not going back far enough..."
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think Thom's collection really goes back far enough. The first time I saw what would be the predecessor of the PDA was the Sharp PC1211
http://mycalcdb.free.fr/main.php?l=0&id=1597


at some point you have to separate PDAs from organisers and programmable calculators

but it would be nice to include another device:
i can't remember who made it and what it's called
but it was an organiser in the format of a pcmcia-card
the top was covered by a display (not sure if it was a complete touchscreen or only partial)

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Typing in "PCMCIA PDA" into Google revealed it in seconds. ;)

The Xircom Rex:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REX_6000

Reply Score: 2

PDA
by Neolander on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 08:02 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

What I ask from a smartphone is essentially good PDA functionality coupled with good phone (call and text) functionality, so I can only agree that Android and iOS devices, which are average to bad at both (their strong points being rather multimedia, web services and fart apps), certainly did not invent everything in this area ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: PDA
by renox on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 08:51 UTC in reply to "PDA"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Are (Android and iOS) really average to bad on PDA and phone functionalities? Could you be more specific in your criticisms?


My own pet peeves with my Nokia E71 is that its GPS application (made by Nokia!) cannot access the addresses of my contacts and you cannot really take a phone call while using the phone as a GPS, the global integration isn't very good..

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: PDA
by Neolander on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE: PDA"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

For phone functionality, it's because unlike Symbian (WebOS too I think, with JustType), these OSs don't offer quick access to the communication functionality, which is instead hidden behind a variable number of screens and scrolling depending on manufacturer & operator tweaking. Low presence (or, for iOS, nonexistence) of keyboard hardware also makes them quite poor at extensive text communication : virtual keyboards are sufficient for infrequent use, but after alphanumeric keypads they're the motorcycle of text input on phones.

For PDA, I should probably precise which PDA functionality I use most : calendar/reminder functionalities and e-mail. Android and iOS are OK at e-mail, without offering anything out of the ordinary in that area either : it's here, it does its job, but it's not a top priority. In the realm of reminders, going above the feature phone level and offering basic OS integration would require to have at least a way to display upcoming entries and to-do lists on the home screen. A functionality which is optional and unsupported on Android (widgets) and nonexistent on iOS. Well, at least they have syncML support, like every single other phone OS out there...

So well... I'd like to have a look at WebOS or the upcoming QNX-based version of BlackberryOS, to see if they're better on these fronts, but so far I'm quite disappointed.

Edited 2011-07-22 12:56 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: PDA
by cwaig_g on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 14:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: PDA"
cwaig_g Member since:
2009-11-30

For PDA, I should probably precise which PDA functionality I use most : calendar/reminder functionalities and e-mail. Android and iOS are OK at e-mail, without offering anything out of the ordinary in that area either : it's here, it does its job, but it's not a top priority. In the realm of reminders, going above the feature phone level and offering basic OS integration would require to have at least a way to display upcoming entries and to-do lists on the home screen. A functionality which is optional and unsupported on Android (widgets) and nonexistent on iOS. Well, at least they have syncML support, like every single other phone OS out there...


It's funny really - that's a function that was available (in jailbreak form) on iOS years ago (I used to use it on my iPod Touch).

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: PDA
by Neolander on Sat 23rd Jul 2011 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: PDA"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Having to void the warranty of expensive devices and expose them to shady software just to get minimal functionality is not exactly what I call support ;) But you're right, I should have precised I'm talking about non-jailbroken iOS.

Edited 2011-07-23 07:11 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: PDA
by dragos.pop on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 10:36 UTC in reply to "PDA"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

What I ask from a smartphone is essentially good PDA functionality coupled with good phone (call and text) functionality, so I can only agree that Android and iOS devices, which are average to bad at both (their strong points being rather multimedia, web services and fart apps), certainly did not invent everything in this area ;)


Well, Palm (Handspring), HTC and nokia were in the smatphone business way before them.

So what did iOS invented:
1) multitouch
2) good music support (thx. for iPod)

Clear no revolution. Big evolution I would say.
And for android: nothing new (and I do own and love my android phone).

PS: actually android does have some innovations in the way it saves the program state and in the implementation of the virtual machine but these are not the subject of this discussion.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: PDA
by henderson101 on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 11:04 UTC in reply to "RE: PDA"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

PS: actually android does have some innovations in the way it saves the program state and in the implementation of the virtual machine but these are not the subject of this discussion.


Well, saved states weren't new... a number of PalmOS apps would do this, VM's weren't new as the Newton could be programmed using Newtonscript, which ran on a VM, (also, Waba and various Java VM's existed - though not exclusively) and, more importantly, the Danger Hiptop used a very similar scheme to Android for VM (as the main designer for both projects was the same), as does Blackberry.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: PDA
by Carewolf on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 18:42 UTC in reply to "RE: PDA"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

There were and are PDAs with better music support than the iPod. Some developed from advanced MP3 players just like the iPhone, but without the phone part and a decade earlier.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: PDA
by somebody on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 19:08 UTC in reply to "RE: PDA"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

lol, really???

invented... multitouch? lol, you might wanna recheck facts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

read the part how apple just aquired Fingerworks.

Reply Score: 2

HP iPaq Pocket PC h2215 launch date
by jal_ on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 08:30 UTC
jal_
Member since:
2006-11-02

Hi Tom, quick comment: there's no launch date mentioned for the HP iPaq Pocket PC h2215.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Hi Tom, quick comment: there's no launch date mentioned for the HP iPaq Pocket PC h2215.


I know. Couldn't find it ;) .

Reply Score: 1

jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

According to Wikipedia, "In June 2003, HP retired the h3xxx line of iPAQs and introduced the h1xxx line of iPAQs targeted at price conscious buyers, the h2xxx consumer line, and the h5xxx line, targeted at business customers.", so June 2003 seems like a safe guess. The h2200 series user manual dates from May 2003. There are a number of reviews also dating the series to June 2003 (e.g. here: http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/3731.html). But indeed for the specific 2215 there's no exact date to be found.

Reply Score: 2

Ahhh, I remember my first PDA
by bloodline on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 08:46 UTC
bloodline
Member since:
2008-07-28

My first PDA was an HP iPAQ 4150... Gorgeous hardware, bright clear screen, small, light, fast CPU (which was easy to over clock for when I wanted to run PocketUAE)... But the OS sucked, the battery life was about 2 and a half hours of use and te resistive touch screen was just about as horrible as a human can bare...

I could never get it to sync propery, the wifi was flakey (it did improve after a painful, unsupported and nerve wracking OS upgrade)... The web browser was a joke. But the calendar was useful albeit manually "synced" with my desktop, I could listen to my mp3s and play Age of Empires... I had hoped to use it to take notes but the on screen keyboard and handwriting recognition sucked too much to make that a reality... I did find myself using audio memos a lot, something that has carried over on to my later devices.

Despite all its flaws, I did love it and it went everywhere with me... Then due to my mp3 and movie collection growing I bought a 60gb iPod... Which meant I was carrying around a mobile phone, an iPod and a PDA... This was an unsustainable situation... Then after about a year of this, Apple announced the iPhone... All three devices in one... I "drank the koolade", and have been a happy iPhone camper ever since (I jailbroke my first iPhone so I could use it as a proper PDA, but my second one was a 3G with iOS 2 with the App store, so I didn't bother to jailbreak it).

For me the iPhone and Android systems were a massive jump over all that came before them... It was like going from a Sinclair ZX81 to an Amiga 500 (a Jump that I experienced in 1989)... Suddenly these curious toys became proper tool., Before, the iPhone/Android the PDA was as much of a hinderance as it was a help, now these devices are genuinely fit for purpose!

I don't think the lineage of the PDA does stem from the Palm and the Windows Mobile... I think these were dead ends, which were out competed by a new way of thinking.

Xerox parcs owed little to the popular CP/M OS the 70's, it was a new way of thinking about Human/Computer interaction... Similarly iOS (and Android, and WebOS, and Windows7 Phone) owes little to Palm and Windows mobile, it was a new way of thinking about Human/PDA interaction.

I would say, the modern mobile device is probably more directly related to the Media players and Mobile Phones of the past decade than the PDA of the same era... Being "consumer devices", rather than computing devices.

Just my £2s worth ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by marbiol
by marbiol on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 10:40 UTC
marbiol
Member since:
2006-01-20

I went through the Palm OS route for most of my PDAs until the iPhone.

I started on a Palm III and then went to a Handspring Visor which had a really cool expansion slot. I kept the Visor around for a long time as a platform for playing Moria and Rogue...

From there I jumped to a Palm E2 and then to a T | X as I wanted the full screen option.

Along the way I picked up a couple of Clies that I used as cheap ebook readers / universal remote controls. The scroll wheel was great for page turning for ebooks.

The T | X was brilliant as it was so customisable - I still wish I could redesign the iOS interface in the same way (jailbreak customisation doesn't reach the same levels as was possible on PalmOS). The T | X was also notable as it was very useable as a SIP based phone (the E2 was as well) and I used that for a while for international calls while having a normal phone as well.

Web browsing was average on most of these, but the T|X could be made to work alright if you could find the right browsers to download... The music apps were pretty crap but I was using an iPod for music by then so that wasn't a major loss. There was at least one good media player that could be used to watch avi files off the SD card. I still used the T|X as my movie player and ToDo/calendar setup when I got my original iPhone and didn't really stop using it for offline apps and for movies until I upgraded to a 3G.

Edited 2011-07-22 10:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1

PDA Collection
by henderson101 on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 10:43 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

Wow.. in the last couple of weeks, I just started this little hobby!

My collection depleted, as I sold a bunch a few years back, but I have owned (or own) the following:

* Palm Pilot Professional (I still have this)
* Handspring Visor (Sold - 8MB model, translucent blue, had an keyboard add on module also that was made by Seiko)
* Sharp Zaurus Sl5500 (Sold, had a CF card WiFi module)
* HP iPaq h2215 (or might be h2200, looks identical to Thom's one, currently runs Angstrom)
* Siemens SX45 PDA Phone (runs PPC2002 and I've never managed to get the phone to work... it was FREE from an old employers junk bin..)
* Apple Newton Messagepad 120 (Sold. I wanted to like Newton, but it was crap and underpowered.)
* Nokia N800 (Sold, I liked it lot initially, but Nokia dropped it like a hot potato - if you want to complain about Apple and Android manufacturers support, look first at Nokia's track record with NIT's..SHOCKING!)
* Nokia N810 (litterally bought this week... like the N800, except it had a hardware keyboard, so it ROCKS!! Mine is the WiMAX version, which is odd as we don't have WiMAX in the UK, but it was cheap on eBAY.)
* DT Research DT300 webpad (SOLD, This isn't really a PDA, per se, but it is a "pda-like". It ran BeIA and was pretty much useless due to it using some weird RANGELAN specific wireless networking. However, hacking the boot process to boot direct to Tracker on a PDA like device never got old, nor did hacking apps using the BeAPI for it...)

I also use to work with PDAs at a previosu employer and used a lot of different models. We used the Dell Axim range (so x50/x51's and probly the earlier silver ones, like x5 or something like that?) and we used the Orange branded XDA. We also used some PDA form factor Symbol winCE devices. They has a full windows alike desktop on them, and were a PITA to support. Oh, and we used the industrial version of the Psion 3 range (Psion Workabout.)

Actually, Thom - you could do with a Psion in your collection. The Psion range probably pre-date the Newton, as the first model was released in 1984. The Psion 5 was pretty slick - like a mini laptop (let's not mention the Psion Netbook.. lol)

Another question - where on earth did you manage to find a Windows 5 rom for the iPaq h2200 series? I would LOVE to know more.

Reply Score: 2

Tungsten E
by Drunkula on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 14:22 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

I have a Tungsten E that I've had for years. Like the E2 Thom mentions mine only works when plugged in. I bought a toolkit to take it apart. The screws come out but the thing still doesn't want to pop open. I'm afraid of damaging it so I haven't put much effort into it but I was planning on replacing the battery. Oh well. Maybe later...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Tungsten E
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 16:43 UTC in reply to "Tungsten E"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I have a Tungsten E that I've had for years. Like the E2 Thom mentions mine only works when plugged in. I bought a toolkit to take it apart. The screws come out but the thing still doesn't want to pop open. I'm afraid of damaging it so I haven't put much effort into it but I was planning on replacing the battery. Oh well. Maybe later...


I just took mine apart, and put it back together again. It works perfectly now ;) . I guess the connector between the motherboard and the battery was off or something. I urge you to try the same! I didn't damage mine at all.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 18:10 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

My favorite pda is my Psion 3a, bought it in 1992. Before that I had a Tandy PC-3, which is a rebranded Sharp. Not really a pda though, more a little computer (well, pc stood for pocket computer).

I still have both and they both still work.

Since then I bought a couple of Sharp pocket pcs, MessagePads (Newton), Palm Pilots and an Atari Portfolio (does that qualify as a pda?).

Edit: a number of these retro goodies I still use at work on occasion. I use a MessagePad when on note taking missions or as a ToDo list. It does capture attention.

Edited 2011-07-22 18:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Interested in a Sony CLIE NX80V?
by NexusCrawler on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 22:35 UTC
NexusCrawler
Member since:
2009-02-11

Thom,

I have a Sony CLIE NX80V somewhere which begs for finding some new reason in existence. The problem is, however, that there is some issue with the screen colors. I guess the display cable has some bad contact, as I could temporarily restore the colors by pressing strongly the device in some point.

However, the device may interest you anyway, since the software part is not as much interesting as the hardware itself: the software is classical Sony's custom PalmOS. Hardware-wise, I also have some nice accessories, like the wired remote-control which doubled as a stylus or the Sony-branded Memory Stick Bluetooth dongle.

When I was using the device the most, outside of the basic PDA tasks it also kept me busy in the train playing videos (controlled with the wired remote-controller) or running games. I remember trying a port of Duke Nukem 3D on it! I also used to write SMS on the device and then send them on my phone by Bluetooth. That way I used the keyboard of the NX80V instead of the keypad of the phone. The SMS storage capacity was also not the same; I literally kept a library of my texted conversations. Retrieving and formatting this library several years later once made some geeky but definitely very romantic St Valentine day gift ;-)

There is also a Sony CLIE TG50 -- bought for my girlfriend -- which is lying unused somehere. This one probably won't be used ever either, so if she agrees (and I'm pretty sure she will) I could get rid of this one too. Outside of aging battery issues, it should work perfectly well.

For the story, I also bought a Sony CLIE NX70V to my mother. This one is still actively used to store lists and miscellaneous memos. At some time she also used it for some casual games and as a digital camera. The only encountered problem was with the battery: showing some weakness, I replaced it by the one of my NX80V, as I was already not using it anymore. Oh, by the way, those devices were of course screwed with some 'you shall not open it' very small torx heads, excepted for the battery door, which was using some classic 'the old one you know and use everyday' phillips head. Switching an ageing battery was definitely possible as a head-user.

As you can guess, I am a big fan of hardware keyboard, as all of these devices have one. I was also fond of the form factor of the NX line: convertible between clamshell and tablet. I preferred the "portrait" mode of these devices, contrary to the following CLIE UX models which were using the same form-factor but in "landscape" mode.

Originally I wanted to have a Sony CLIE NZ90 which is, in my opinion, simply a legend in the Sony CLIE line. I finally backed on the NX80V as I could get my hand on one and since it provided numerous advantages over the NZ90. The NX80V, on the other hand, is more of a rarity than a legend :-)

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I sent you an email ;) .

Reply Score: 1

Apple Newton
by cemptor on Tue 26th Jul 2011 04:07 UTC
cemptor
Member since:
2010-06-16

I have a Newton MessagePad 2100, that I bought after trying a Sony Clie in 2002. Don't use it any more but it still works.

Even though a brick, it is very elegant. Simple things like
- a phone book that generates a tone dial of a phone number through a speaker so you can make a phone call to a contact. Who needs bluetooth?

- The best handwriting recognition I've seen - even now. I could write cursive almost as fast as writing on paper, and just send meeting notes to folks without having to transcribe them

- Simple text e-book reader. Even though the screen is ancient, its enough to read a book. The only thing superior today is e-ink

All in all a fully functional productivity device that actually helped you work smarter. Can't say that for my Android + laptop in the same way

So I completely agree with you that a lot of ideas came from the PDAs when they had no choice but to deal with a small form factor and resolution and had to create a new market.

Reply Score: 1