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  • What's new in my pocket computers pages?

    Friday, October 15th : Ricoh RDC i-700 received
    Device securised this morning! No page for it yet; will be one some day.

    Wednesday, September 15th : Sharp MI-10 added
    Created a page for the Sharp MI-10 i've received.

    Friday, July 23rd : new homepage, new machines listed
    My collection reached 49 units yesterday as i've received 2 new watches. Added them to the list (no pages yet) and changed the homepage to a weblog format.

    This feature will soon be available

    Apple Newton Message Pad 110
    PDA - Personnal Digital Assistant
    I'm sorry, but I will not reply to user manual requests or to dealer location inquiries anymore.

    Please read my FAQ page that might help you if you have any of these questions in mind.
    Feel free to contact me for any other question or comment regarding this machine!

    The Newton with it's luxury stylus. Reflections on the screen are typical, and brought the Newton the nickname of "world most expensive mirror".

    Special features :
    - Unique handwritting recognition
    - Assistant function

    Weak points :
    - Looked huge at the time. Looks even more now!
    - Handwriting recognition needs a real boost (which came with later versions, it seems)
    - World most expensive mirror....

    Related machines in my collection :
    Competitor devices :
    Casio Z-7000 ZOOMER
    HP OMNIGO 100
    Sony Magic Link PIC-1000
    Kyocera Refalo KX1601
    The one that eventually redefined the PDA market in 1996 :
    Us Robotics Palm Pilot 5000

    This is the Apple machine which launched the "PDA" trend. John Sculley, Apple CEO at the time, invented the "Personnal Digital Assistant" term to name a new breed of products that the Newton would define.
    Even now, the Newton is the only one which really deserves the "PDA" label, since it features the "Assist" function that no other device offered since. The idea is simple : Newton's main app is the note pad, where the user can directly "handwrite" data on screen. Suppose you have a lunch, next monday, with, let's say, John; just write "Lunch monday John" on the notepad and tap "assist". The newton will recognize your writing, understand the meaning of the note, find John in your contact list, and book your agenda for a lunch on the next monday.
    Now, that's a long description, but it makes it clear why PDAs are now named PDAs!
    Based on a 20MHZ ARM RISC processor, the Newton had a power that later similar devices would only get years later.

    Processor : ARM 20MHz OS : Newton OS
    RAM : 1 MB ROM : 4 MB
    Graphic display : 240 x 320 Text display : variable fonts
    Display : B&W Input :Stylus, Handwriting

    Built-in Applications :
    Handwritting recognition; Telephone directory; schedule; calculator; computer connexion; world time, notepad, "intelligent" assistant function.

    Open to other applications : Yes
    Ports :
    - one PCMCIA 2.0 port
    - one Apple DIN serial port
    - one IR communication port
    - power supply entry jack

    A fun fact for all pda geeks out there : the original US-Robotic Pilot fits almost perfectly in the Newton's screen dimensions. This clearly demonstrates, if needed, that the Newton is huge compared to the machines that actually supported the PDA market take off in the late 90's. I see it as an indication that the form factor was a real issue at the time when the Newton came out; just as much as the high price tag.
    Yet the Newton has a more powerful architecture (RISC processor, higher frequency, better connectivity and interfaces...), and it's screen, if bigger, also offers a much better definition and 3x as much pixels (320x240 VS 160x160).