Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Aug 2013 17:55 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In product lore, high profile gadgets that get killed are often more interesting than the ones that succeed. The Kin, the HP TouchPad, and the Edsel are all case studies in failure - albeit for different reasons. Yet in the history of those killings, nothing compared to the Apple Newton MessagePad. The Newton wasn't just killed, it was violently murdered, dragged into a closet by its hair and kicked to death in its youth by one of technology’s great men. And yet it was a remarkable device, one whose influence is still with us today. The Ur tablet. The first computer designed to free us utterly from the desktop.

'First' is debatable, but this was definitely an interesting product. It was far too complex though, and the simpler, more focussed Palm Pilot then showed the market how mobile computing ought to work - something Apple took to heart a decade later with the iPhone.

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RE[5]: Comment by tupp
by puenktchen on Wed 7th Aug 2013 10:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by tupp"
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What is claimed in the article is that the MessagePad was the first PDA, which it easily is because Apple coined the term themselves.

That's not what the article claims, it just says "it was Apple's PDA" and that they coined that term. The claim is something quite different:

The Ur tablet. The first computer designed to free us utterly from the desktop.

And I'd say that's correct. I wouldn't even call the Newton a PDA because the success of the Palm Pilot defined what we expect from a PDA and the Newton is just to big to be a PDA from that perspective. But it is what we call a tablet today, not only the form factor but also the basic functionality. And I'm quite sure that no other product from that time is really comparable.

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