Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Jul 2006 20:44 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Cnet did an interesting comparison: Samsung's recently released UMPC, vs. the... Apple Newton. "Fans will tell you that the Apple Newton was years ahead of its time. Ten years on we're going to put that claim to the test. We're pitting a vintage Apple Newton against the brand-new Samsung Q1 ultra-mobile PC in a head-to-head battle." What's more suprising is the winner, however.
Permalink for comment 147183
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Newton Design
by Feneric on Fri 28th Jul 2006 21:37 UTC
Feneric
Member since:
2006-01-16

The Newton design has many things going for it. The key insight is that it was designed from the ground-up to be used as a hand-held computer; its interface is optimized for use on the go and it's fairly simple using it while standing up on a crowded train. All the common desktop interface metaphors were considered in that environment, and many were dumped as being inappropriate or unnecessary (people are often surprised at the rarity of the "Save" function in Newton software, for just one example).

At the same time it featured (for its time) an impressive processor that was optimized not for speed, but for maximum speed for minimum power consumption (something that's starting to be looked at a bit more today). The result was incredibly long battery life.

I wrote a piece on various Newton features some time ago; it can be found at:

http://feneric.blogspot.com/2006/01/newton-technology-in-2006.html

Sure, the Newton is past its prime and there are many changes to the hardware that would make sense today. It could be made lighter, for one, and certainly things like wireless and Bluetooth ought to be built-in and not available only through cards. At the same time there's a lot that can be learned from it; a simple evolutionary improvement to it would easily best most current PDAs and hand-held computers.

It's also still fairly widely used, and its technology has spread around a bit. Portions of it have pretty obviously made their way into Mac OS X (Ink even responds to some old Newton Easter Eggs, and some of OS X's animations are mighty familiar to Newton users) while other chunks are available here and there. Paul Guyot's Einstein project makes it possible to run Newton software on Linux or Mac OS X, and my own little Newton Book Reader Extension for Firefox makes it possible to read Newton books anywhere that Firefox (or Flock or Seamonkey) can run.

See also:

http://www.kallisys.com/newton/einstein/en
http://www.newtonslibrary.org/nbrdr/

Reply Score: 3