Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 26th Aug 2012 10:28 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless In light of the jury verdict in Apple vs. Samsung, the one-liners and jokes flew back and forth. One in particular, by Dan Frakes, has been copied and pasted all over the web, and it goes like this: "When the iPhone debuted, it was widely criticized for having no buttons/keys. Now people think the iPhone's design is 'obvious'." This is a very common trend in this entire debate that saddens me to no end: the iPhone is being compared to simple feature phones, while in fact, it should be compared to its true predecessor: the PDA. PDAs have always done with few buttons.
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RE[7]: Revisionist History
by socheltree on Mon 27th Aug 2012 17:03 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Revisionist History"
socheltree
Member since:
2012-08-27

EXACTLY.
Does anyone here remember GEOS? Woof! It was a kind of mockup of the early Mac GUI running on 8-bit processors. You could "run" it on a C-64, I put run in quotes because it was more of a slow crawl.
Anybody here remember the build quality of Tandy or Casio devices? Woof again. Tandy's DOS based computers were so bad they were practically a fork in the OS. Software which ran on them would list them as a separate compatible device, even though it was technically running the same OS.
The Zoomer was not prior art.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Revisionist History
by galvanash on Mon 27th Aug 2012 19:51 in reply to "RE[7]: Revisionist History"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I had a Zoomer. I had a Messagepad. They were both very interesting little distractions that facinated me. Neither of them worked well - they were both horrible in their own unique ways.

Just saying, people have selective memories. Everyone's products were horrible by todays standards in the early 90s - even Apples.

Not that it means anything... But my Messagepad stopped working at about 6 months old (1994?). The Zoomer was still working in 2001 or so when I threw it away...

Edited 2012-08-27 19:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: Revisionist History
by TM99 on Tue 28th Aug 2012 03:18 in reply to "RE[8]: Revisionist History"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

I had a Zoomer. I had a Messagepad. They were both very interesting little distractions that facinated me. Neither of them worked well - they were both horrible in their own unique ways.

Just saying, people have selective memories. Everyone's products were horrible by todays standards in the early 90s - even Apples.

Not that it means anything... But my Messagepad stopped working at about 6 months old (1994?). The Zoomer was still working in 2001 or so when I threw it away...


As did I, plus I also paid the ungodly sum at the time to get a Newton Developer's Kit from Apple.

You are right. Both of them 'sucked' according to today's standards. But as they evolved, one survived and thrived, and the other failed and was canceled. Later Palm's were exceptional devices. I still use an m515 and a TX to this day. Sure, I enjoyed hacking my Newton 2100 but it was just that, hacking. I had to add a headphone jack in order to listen to music. I had to hack a way to get it to work with iTunes.

True, the Zoomer was not a commercial success but its successors, the Handsprings and Palms definitely were. They built on that foundation. The Newton was a commercial failure. According to the logic of most Apple 'fans' here, if something is a commercial success then it had to have been innovative, inventive, and well the cat's meow, and if it failed, then it never was. So does that 'truth' apply in this case as well with the Newton?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Revisionist History
by TM99 on Tue 28th Aug 2012 03:42 in reply to "RE[7]: Revisionist History"
TM99 Member since:
2012-08-26

EXACTLY.
Does anyone here remember GEOS? Woof! It was a kind of mockup of the early Mac GUI running on 8-bit processors. You could "run" it on a C-64, I put run in quotes because it was more of a slow crawl.
Anybody here remember the build quality of Tandy or Casio devices? Woof again. Tandy's DOS based computers were so bad they were practically a fork in the OS. Software which ran on them would list them as a separate compatible device, even though it was technically running the same OS.
The Zoomer was not prior art.


Just because you dislike the OS it ran and considered the hardware makers second rate does not mean it was not prior art. It is as simple as that.

Did you actually ever use a Newton 100? Seriously, do you want to convince me it was not slow, buggy, and prone to hardware failures. Do you not remember how difficult it was to sync to your Mac? Do you not remember that it drained AAA batteries faster than a frat boy downing a keg? Do you not remember how horrid CalliGrapher's handwriting recognition software was? It was even mocked on the Simpsons.

But, unlike you, I recognize that it was the first model, and I expected that. Only in this pop culture age where all things must be instantly 'perfected' and a 'blockbuster' do we tend to forget that all 1.x products form hardware to software tend to suck until the bugs are fixed or the products are canceled & hopefully revived years later in another form.

This is the very psychological tendency of historical revisionism that is being addressed in this side-topic. I 'dislike' this so it must not have been so. I 'like' that so it most assuredly must have been so. When you can look back at over 35 years of tech history, the picture is a lot more nuanced and wider than seen only through a partisan haze.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[9]: Revisionist History
by socheltree on Tue 28th Aug 2012 16:10 in reply to "RE[8]: Revisionist History"
socheltree Member since:
2012-08-27

@TM99
Yes, I used the original MessagePad as an everyday device long enough to know that everything you say about it is true. I never used The Zoomer, but used a number of Palm devices sporadically, spending a couple years with a Palm V.
But I believe the author's point in this article is that Apple followed into the already existing PDA market with the iPhone. Clearly the Zoomer and Newton were developed independently at the same time and Hawkins himself says the Newton came to market before The Zoomer.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[8]: Revisionist History
by Tony Swash on Tue 28th Aug 2012 10:10 in reply to "RE[7]: Revisionist History"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

From today's technology blog on the Guardian, commenting on Thom attempt to rewrite history sans Apple.

the Zoomer came out in 1993 and work started on the Newton in 1987 - with Apple already filing Newton-related patents in October 1992.


The Patent is here
http://www.google.com/patents?id=jQ8dAAAAEBAJ&printsec=frontcover&d...

The drawings attached to the patent, which are worth a look, are here

http://www.google.com/patents/US5446882?printsec=drawing&dq=5,446,8...

Here is an idea: lets drop this tedious tech archaeology, the tech intellectual equivalent to trying to prove that Atlantis existed, and accept that stopping Android OEMs from copying Apple in the future (whether they did it in the past or not) will not stop them innovating and inventing. If they are up to it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[9]: Revisionist History
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 28th Aug 2012 10:23 in reply to "RE[8]: Revisionist History"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

...and Hawkins began work on what would become the PDA back at GRiD, releasing the GRiDPAD in 1989. Not filing patents or showing non-functional demo units - no, an actual, working tablet in 1989.

The point is this: iOS is more like PalmOS than like Newton, which used a completely different paradigm (notebook) than PalmOS. The groundwork for PalmOS - handwriting recognition, touchscreen technology, etc. - was laid by Hawkins at GRiD, with the first product being the GRiDPAD in 1989, and the Zoomer in 1992/1993. PalmOS' application-centric model would massively win out over the ill-fated notebook paradigm of the Newton and PenPointOS, so much so that iOS, Android, and everything else currently on the market uses the PalmOS application-centric model.

Which is a GOOD thing. I'm GLAD Apple adopted PalmOS' model, since it's a BILLION times better than the horrible notebook paradigm of the Newton. See how this works? Good ideas get copied - EVEN BY APPLE - and that's how mankind progresses. What if Palm had monopolised its ideas and technology, forcing Apple to stick to the notebook paradigm? *shudders*

Edited 2012-08-28 10:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1