Home > Wireless > Top Ten PDA Failures Top Ten PDA Failures Submitted by Cory 2005-01-12 Wireless 24 Comments The PDA business has had many losers in the past twenty years, but not all of them merited that status. Here are the top ten PDA’s or initiatives that should not have failed. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 24 Comments 2005-01-12 1:33 pm sorry for being not entirely on-topic. Should be ‘losers’, not ‘loosers’ 2005-01-12 2:02 pm REX was nice. I remember how I used it get ready for my MS certification exam (NT 4.0 MSCE), while working part time at a restaurant. I told the manager that it was a sort of calculator used to prepare a report on how to improve the joint efficiency. I never used Windows NT and REX since then. 2005-01-12 2:14 pm The article tells us that the REX PDA had no way of inputting data away from a PC. That’s just plain BS. I had (have) one, and it can display a tiny keyboard on a spaceous screen. You can edit any data on the gadget itself. Its interface is quite elegant actually – but everything you do takes a looong time. IMO that’s why it failed. 2005-01-12 2:21 pm too short, looks like some article i would write. Why did they list Palm? They are the #2 PDA OS and the #1 PDA maker. Why didn’t they list the Linux-Based PDA’s? (Commercial ones) Those seem to be pulled from the US markets and other ones. 2005-01-12 2:22 pm I don’t consider the Newton a failure. I still have yet to see any handwriting recognition engine that matches the Newton Handwriting Recognition engine (not the Calligrapher one), now known as Inkwell and installed with Mac OS X. Furthermore, the Newton had the perfect form factor. Big enough to actually write on, yet small enough to be easy to hold. I prefer it infinitely to “pocketable” PDAs or full Tablet PC’s. Too bad mine got smashed up. 2005-01-12 3:33 pm As the Zaurus flopped in the US and Europe, I guess that should be on the list as well? No flames – I love my Zaurus, even bought a new one a month or so back. Mind, I loved my Helio as well 2005-01-12 4:45 pm What about ATT and the whole EO into oblivion 2005-01-12 4:51 pm Amazing, a discussion of discontinued PDAs that ignores the Psion which was, and still is, a pioneer in the market! The authors knowledge seems a little too limited to handle the subject properly! 😉 BeJay 2005-01-12 4:57 pm Similar to the HP 200LX, the Fujitsu Poqet PC was interesting. But it had no real synchronization abilities. P.S. The Zaurus has always been very popular in Japan. 2005-01-12 6:05 pm <opens desk drawer> Hrm, I have a Psion 5, a Zaurus, a broken Palm III, and a Linux Agenda developer’s edition. I sure can pick em’. The only PDA I have ever gotten any use out of is my TRS-80 Model 100, which I still drag out and hack on once in a while. I can program it in BASIC or assembler (with my Cleuseau ROM); it’s great for hacking out little utilities for playing D&D, and it’s a retro way to take notes in meetings. 2005-01-12 6:16 pm You’re bound to make me cry, and that would only serve to embarrass everyone. 2005-01-12 6:47 pm You think the newton had good handwriting recognition? lol….rotfl……. The handwriting recognition feature was the most critized part of the whole PDA. It was so legendarily bad the cartoon Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau dedicated several episodes to the ridiculous phrases that would come out of simple written sentences. The second most critized aspect of the Newton was the size of the thing, it was frickin’ huge compared to the PDAs of today. It’s funny that you love the most hated features of the Newton. It makes me think your entire post was sarcastic. My friends dad had bought a Newton when they first came out. He was a gadget chaser, spent a bunch of time at the sharper image that kind of thing. He gave it a good go and really tried to use the thing for a while. After 6 months it had gathered enough dust for us kids to safely pick it up and start playing with it. We had some fun translating ordinary messages to each other into secret code, finally degenerating into writing swears and seeing what words it would turn them into. We probably got more use out of it then his dad did but after awhile it became booring and back into the closet it went, it might still be there today, who knows. I guess Apple finally got around to fixing the handwriting recgonition, but it was still big, unweildly, and pretty much useless. It wasnt till years later that anyone needed a PDA. Apple should have kept pollishing the Newton till then. 2005-01-12 6:55 pm THe original REX had no way of inputting data way from the PC. 2005-01-12 7:47 pm I don’t see the Newton as a failed PDA. They were just several years ahead and the market wasn’t ready. OTOH, the Agenda was a total flop, its only selling point being that it ran Linux. I consider every Windows CE device a failure by definition. I still use my Palm IIIxe daily, simple tool with a simple OS that does the job. 2005-01-12 7:56 pm No mention of Psion in an article on PDA failures… I suppose some sort of congratulations are in order because how the author managed to achieve this was amazing. @ timh: Palm aren’t listed. Microsoft are, for their “Palm PC”. You see, they took the word “palm” because the unit was held in the palm, and added “PC” to it because the unit was, like, a “personal computer”. Nothing at all to do with trying to hijack 3Com’s Palm Pilot… A couple of legal challenges later, and Microsoft backed down, but not after defending themselves with this gem: “For our English-language product, we use the term ‘palm’ in Palm PC to describe the size of the device. We don’t see how the name Palm PC conflicts with the name PalmPilot.” 3Com sues Microsoft: http://www.winnetmag.com/Article/ArticleID/17686/17686.html Microsoft drops “Palm PC” name: http://www.winnetmag.com/Article/ArticleID/17736/17736.html 2005-01-12 8:10 pm The Newton is a failure because it sold terribly and lost money – that makes it a failure in commercial terms, which is what the article is talking about, not a failure in terms of being good or not good. The article does not list the Palm, it lists the Palm PC, Microsoft’s predecessor to the Pocket PC. And no Psion can be considered a failure by any stretch of the imagination (except the Netbook) – the series 3 and series 5 sold bucketloads and were market leaders in their day. The fact that they’re discontinued *now* is neither here nor there (Star Wars isn’t showing in theatres any more, that doesn’t mean it was a flop…) 2005-01-12 8:29 pm But I still love my Atari Portfolio. Besides its DOS interface, I still find it a cool and handy tool. One issue as always is its storage capability. 2005-01-12 8:40 pm Even though Psions sold well for a long period, Psion eventually lost marketshare to their rivals and stopped manufacturing in 2001. Ultimately, being a British company, they failed to make a big impression outside Europe. The last Psions were (and still are) highly regarded, yet still a commercial failure. History of Psion: http://3lib.ukonline.co.uk/historyofpsion.htm 2005-01-12 9:37 pm Phillips Velo 1. What a wonderful device. Just no support or way to upgrade. 2005-01-12 10:12 pm There are no dates in the article! Was the Newton “too ahead of its time” or ” just a “bad business”? The same to every one of the products. If tje iPod Shuttle is a “bad business” in Jan¡05 it is quite different if it is a “bad business” in November 93 (or any date, prior or post) 2005-01-13 12:33 am I owned one of the original REX devices and I loved it for it’s portability. But alas it eventually died. I have a Palm Tungsten C now (after going through a couple other Palm-based PDA’s in between), with color screen and built-in wireless, faster processor, etc. And I hardly use it becuase it’s so big it won’t fit in my pocket and doesn’t go with me wherever I go. The REX let me look up any phone number in my large phone list anywhere I was, because it was always with me. 2005-01-13 4:57 am apple was always ahead of the times–and that is what held them back. instead of waiting for the opportunity for the volume they thought they could create it and start momentum. 2005-01-13 7:19 am I have a Psion Revo+ clone. Came with a keyboard, a ridiculously large screen, a very loud speaker, and a good battery – better than the Palms and Handsprings of the era by a long shot. Too bad Psion never figured out how to manufacture the things reliably; after a few months of use, the screen would blank, or the memory would clear randomly. At least a descendent of Psion’s EPOC OS lives on in cell phones. 2005-01-13 1:53 pm Wasn’t a flop. It even showed up in the first Terminator movie. The gadget the kid hacks the door lock or ATM or whatever with was a Portfolio.