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Old 03-14-2006, 08:27 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Palm handheld celebrates 10-year anniversary

It was exactly ten years ago, back in March 1996, when Palm Computing (then a division of U.S. Robotics, later a division of 3Com, and finally a standalone corporation) introduced the very first Palm handhelds: the Pilot 1000 and Pilot 5000. Digged out from a 1996 product advertisement:

"The Pilot connected organizer is a handheld extension of your PC, rather than a miniaturized PC running a stripped-down version of a PC-style operating system. U.S. Robotics Palm Computing subsidiary engineered Pilot to leverage the capabilities already on your desktop, without forcing you to split information between a handheld and a full-size device."

Neither the Pilot 1000 nor the 5000 had an infrared port, backlight, or flash memory. RAM was limited to 128k and 512k, respectively, and both were powered by a Motorola 68328 16MHz running Palm OS V1.0!

For nostaglic sake, I uploaded some goodies for you:
  • the official press release announcing the Pilot series back in January 1996
  • the official 14-page product advertisement from U.S. Robotics
  • two ancient demos, one for Macintosh and one for Windows (16bit!)

From all of us: A Happy Birthday, Palm Pilot!
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File Type: pdf pressrel012996.pdf (92.9 KB, 523 views)
File Type: pdf pilotwp.pdf (237.9 KB, 597 views)
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File Type: zip pilotmac.zip (899.4 KB, 417 views)
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:55 AM   #2
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Is it really ten years. Where does it all go!

Mat
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:55 AM   #3
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It's funny... I had the opposite reaction... I thought "Has it ONLY been 10 yrs!"

But when I think about really neat steps in computing over the last 30yrs or so, it includes some pretty amazing steps like (no particular order):

* The early Palm devices, of course
* Video displays instead of card punches or teletypes. (I'm showing my age!)
* That Altair computer with the toggle switches and leds (I used to love Popular Electronics and then BYTE magazine and couldn't wait for the next issues to arrive!)
* The various CP/M computers that were out there (can't even remember anymore, but that was CP/M wasn't it? And I think there was software like PeachTree acctg software to run a small business on.
* The early spreadsheet software and early games.
* The various Commodore PET, TRS-80s, etc
* The first versions of MS Windows
* The rise of networking
* The first TI & HP programmable calculators
* The appearance of various removable media like big and small floppy discs, optical media, jump drives. Remember how hard it used to be to move data from one computer to another!
* The Apple Macintosh and the first mouse devices
* Early hard drives (I paid hundreds of dollars for a 20meg hard drive!) and inkjet/laser printers
* The introduction of the internet and the web (we sometimes forget that these are separate things!) I still remember visiting CMU's Software Engineering Institute for a CMM software capability model presentation where they were giving demonstrations of this brand new thing called the "World Wide Web!"

My gosh, there's been a lot happening in the last 30 years or so, and the introduction of the Palm was certainly a big deal. But I'd have to give big credit to TI and HP for all those early programmable calculators. Anyone remember how solid those HP devices were? I sure wish someone would make some premium mobile device products that are built as solid as the HP calculators were.

And I think that if you compare the speed of innovation now in mobile devices to what you saw 30yrs or 20yrs or even 10yrs ago, there's no comparison. It's so fast paced these days, and we get to see it all unfold at sites like MobileRead and Palm Addicts and all the other fun sites out there.

What a fun ride we're on!!!
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:16 AM   #4
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Longing back to the mid-90s...
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:18 AM   #5
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A list such as this, especially on the MR forum, can’t ignore the Psion Series.

It is getting pretty much forgotten just how innovative and revolutionary these things were – and way before the Palm, even before the Newton.

In my book the Psion Series 5 is still the best PDA ever made. We still get support requests for them and people are still using them – the same can’t be said of the early palms or CE, for example.

In fact…. I’m going to check ebay….
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:35 AM   #6
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Good point. I never used a Psion myself, or even heard of them until Palm Addicts mentioned them. If I had, I'm sure I would have bought one. But everyone familiar with them has very positive things to say.

Here's a nice review of the series 7....
http://www.clieuk.co.uk/psion7.shtml

And a source for lots of Psions...
http://www.clove.co.uk/index/index.asp
Search on Psion, but there's even a Psion Revo Plus on the front page at the moment.

They still sell this device with WinCE...
http://www.psionteklogix.com/public....ducts&pID=2550

There was also some offer with some newly built ones (from spare parts I think), but I can't find the link.

If you get one, you'll have to let us know your thoughts now that it's quite a bit "aged" and the competition is better.
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:50 AM   #7
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Wow, ten years! What a nice, round number. I am surprised Palm hasn't picked it up yet for marketing purposes.
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW
Wow, ten years! What a nice, round number. I am surprised Palm hasn't picked it up yet for marketing purposes.
Perhaps someone should remind them?
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Old 03-14-2006, 11:17 AM   #9
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What was the price for an original Palm Pilot? I bought a Z22 last year for $99. It is a pretty minimalist device, but it works well and was inexpensive.

Heck, I remember when having one at all was either an executive status symbol or a sign of serious geek cred.

CP/M was an operating system for microcomputers written by Gary Kildall and published by the company he formed around it, Digital Research. It typically worked on S-100 bus machines running Zilog Z80 or Intel 8080 chips. Part of the BIOS was open and patchable, which was how people got it to run on so much varied hardware. It was limited to 64K of ram, which became an issue fairly quickly.

I cut my teeth on an old NCR computer running CP/M that booted off an 8-inch floppy. I remember playing a version of Crowther (sp?) & Wood's Adventure written in a strange language called SAM76. The load time was incredible. I also did a lot of writing in WordStar, and sent the files to my dad's work to print on the daisy wheel printers they had there...you know, the kind that sounded like machine guns going off when they ran.
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Old 03-14-2006, 11:29 AM   #10
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I just checked my records, & I paid $303 with tax on July 15, 1996.
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Old 03-14-2006, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I just checked my records, & I paid $303 with tax on July 15, 1996.
That seems about right The attached press release mentions a SRP of $299.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:00 AM   #12
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Now picked up by mainstream as well:

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759...129TX1K0000605
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Old 03-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #13
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The official press release from Palm released today!!

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060327/20060327005239.html?.v=1
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