You’ll want to see this. “A teardown chronological history of PDA Organisers spanning 17 years: 1986 Psion II Organiser, 1996 Palm Pilot 5000, 2003 HP iPAQ 5550.” Very thorough teardowns of the hardware, detailing all the chips and other on-board parts. Hardware porn, basically. Great work by David L. Jones.
History of PDA teardowns
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2012-08-15 8:49 pmMorgan
Well I certainly miss my trusty old Palm Treo 650, I still consider it the best smartphone I’ve ever owned. It even beats my current two, the HTC Arrive WP7 phone and the Samsung Nexus S with ICS. I’d give up both of these phones and a little cash for a modern Treo with WiMAX and a high resolution screen. And I don’t mean a WebOS phone, that’s not the same thing at all! I mean a thin, fast Treo with an updated Garnet OS. Of course I know that will never happen.
Back on topic, the video certainly brings back good memories. I was already familiar with the innards of the USR Palm unit as I’ve owned one and had to fix a broken solder joint in it many years ago. I think it’s amazing to see how much has changed, and yet how much remains the same, in 20 years of PDA tech.
2012-08-15 9:08 pmflypig
Yeah; the video clearly shows evolution across the devices – it’s fascinating to see how the boards get more tightly packed – but the fundamentals all look similar.
Not that I’d even know a resistor from a capacitor. Every device I ever opened up ended up with some crucial functionality mysteriously missing afterwards.
2012-08-15 9:15 pmhenderson101
I owned the Palmpilot pro. It was the next generation version of the Palm 5000 (the regular Palm pilot was equivalent to the Pilot 1000.) Loved it at the time. I still have it in a drawer and my eldest used it for a while when she was around 8. Good intro to mobile computing.
2012-08-15 9:38 pmThom Holwerda
Every now and then, I power on any of my Palm devices (I have loads). PalmOS really was amazing in that it was both total shit, and yet still managed to work and appear elegant.
Edited 2012-08-15 21:39 UTC
2012-08-17 9:26 amhenderson101
If the Palm pilot pro didn’t require a serial port to operate, I’d still use it. I don’t think I have anything with a serial port anymore – maybe an old PowerMac. Tried a couple of USB serial interfaces, but they were unreliable. I used to own a Visor too – that was USB, but it also ran a weird PalmOS version (3.1H), so it was not really much better than my Pro. I did love PalmOS though!
2012-08-15 9:57 pmMorgan
I forgot to mention, you could install a GNU/Linux-based OS called Familiar Linux on some revisions of the iPAQ line. It was never 100% hardware supported on all models, but it made for some fun times and much better functionality than WinCE/PocketPC.
Edited 2012-08-15 21:59 UTC
2012-08-16 12:01 amflypig
you could install a GNU/Linux-based OS called Familiar Linux on some revisions of the iPAQ line.
I really wish I’d done that at the time! WinCE had decent developer tools, but other than that I just could never get on with it.
2012-08-17 9:30 amhenderson101
My iPAQ will boot in to Angstrom from the memory card. I think it’s a similar model to the one in the video, just lacks WIFI. Works okay really. Not really all that different to the Zaurus sl5500 with custom ROMs.
2012-08-18 4:02 amzima
Palm. Simple and with just a giant screen (sort of!). It deserved to evolve into today’s smartphones, and I still find it astonishing it didn’t.
One can easily argue that it did …just not from the same company.
Evolution doesn’t happen only via reproduction… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_gene_transfer – actually, that might be the primary way among the dominant form of life on this planet (dominant at least by biomass; but also crucial overall; and, well, there are more bacterial cells in our bodies than “human” ones). Plus, the genome of your mitochondria (some of it even subsequently transferred to nuclear DNA) came from ~bacterial kingdom…
Perhaps HP should sue Apple ’cause iPad kinda sounds like iPAQ. You know, customers might get confused is all. Apple is really ruining HP’s brand here.
Just got to work. Boss man might not like me starting the day off with a 53 minute YouTube video!
Glad to see that crazy Aussie bloke getting some love here. Been watching his vids since one of his tear downs (of a Yamaha keyboard) was featured on Hackaday about 4 or 5 months ago. Whilst I don’t religiously watch them all, tear down tuesday is really nice!! He’s done some pretty good ones recently (including a tear down of a Nexus 7..)
I know from experience that Psion made just the most fantastic devices. Similarly the prospect of having an XScale in a PDA was thrilling at the time with the iPAQ (unfortunately let down by Win CE).
However, although I never owned one, out of the three I can’t help feeling most drawn to the Palm. Simple and with just a giant screen (sort of!). It deserved to evolve into today’s smartphones, and I still find it astonishing it didn’t.