Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 27th Aug 2012 13:53 UTC
Editorial The dream of inexpensive computing for everyone has been with us since the first computers. Along the way it has taken some unexpected turns. This article summarizes key trends and a few of the surprises.
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RE: Calculators
by zima on Tue 28th Aug 2012 08:01 UTC in reply to "Calculators"
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Smartphones real ancestors are certainly the programmable pocket calculators (HP, TI, Casio, Sharp...) which ran all sorts of applications and were quite popular in the '70s and the '80s

I'd disagree with that - programmability of those is fairly limited (especially '70s models...), and ultimately they were not that different from their simpler siblings, very "focused" on the same kind of usage scenarios.

Meanwhile, the essence of a smartphone seems to be a convergence kind of device, and keeping track of more "soft" and "human" matters - therefore, I believe that more deserving of "smartphones real ancestors" are such smartwatches from the '80s: (tracing their ancestry to calculator watches hence also electronic calculators - still, a different lineage from scientific ones)
Their main problem seemed to be that a watch is simply the wrong form factor for such functionality - which was later solved by the synthesis of "mini tablet" PDA with mobile phone.

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