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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Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Wed 7th Aug 2013 07:31 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I have a number of PDA's, including a few MessagePads, Palms and Psions and some I've actually actively used during their era.

The Psion 3a is the one I like most, but it's more a palmtop computer than a PDA.

The MessagePad is much more advanced and better than the Palm Pilot, but I don't think that really matters. What does matter, in this case, is size.

Palm Pilot's are much much smaller and thus much much easier to carry around, use and store. Even if you can fit a MessagePad in your pocket the weight will distract you all day long and probably damage your clothing.

Also the text input of the Palm, Graffiti, while it is evil in ruining your real handwriting makes it easier to enter text than it is on the MessagePad.

So despite being not so advanced the Palm Pilot made a better PDA just by being simpler and smaller.

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