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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

    US Robotics Palm Pilot 5000
    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 starting point of a new era!

    Special features :
    - Graffiti
    - PC Synchronisation

    Weak points :
    - application set quite unexciting at first
    - IR port and backlit screen are to appear on a next version...
    Related machines in my collection :
    PDA ancestors :
    Apple Newton Message Pad 110
    Casio Z-7000 ZOOMER
    Sony Magic Link PIC-1000
    Earlier graffiti-based PDA :
    HP OMNIGO 100
    Competitor device :
    Casio Pocket Viewer PV-200
    Not a competitor, but still :
    Casio Planeo NX-6000
    Later competitor (Color WinCE) :
    Casio E-500

    Back in 1996 when i saw the first ads for this device, i was thinking "this looks like a good little machine, created by a newcomer in this market (US-Robotics). I'd like them to succeed!".
    Years later, "Palm" has become a generic word for this whole PDA breed.
    At the time the Pilot was launched, the market was somehow divided into 2 main families : the "newton" family, with several different competitors and several OSes trying to set a standard, and the "Psion" family, represented by the keyboard PDAs, and supported by various manufacturers, each sporting their own OSes. "Psion" was then the generic word for a PDA, as the newton family was mostly unknown to most people (all those devices were very high tech and way too expensive). Also, the keyboard was then the only accepted solution for data input. Various handwritting recognition systems were trying to appeal to customers within the Newton family, but to be honest, none of them were quite competitive compared to a keyboard. Not to mention the virtual on-screen keyboards...
    Plus, the newton family members were large and heavy, as opposed to the light and foldable Psion family devices.
    The keyboard family was thus the reasonnable choice for most people.
    PC Connection was then quite common, already, but in most cases the connection kit was only available as an option, for extra cost.

    That was the time when the Palm Pilot family was introduced. Represented at first by 2 members ; the Pilot 1000 and the Pilot 5000, the family was later to extend and meet the success we know...
    SO, what was the big thing that set the standard? I think they were numerous. Instead of one big idea defining the device, the Palm brought together several good sides that were usually not available all at once before.
    I think the first -and maybe the major- good idea was the PC synchronisation. When most other manufacturers offered PC connection as an option, the Palm came packed with a connection cradle *and* a synchronisation software that would instantly transfer all your data into your PDA by the touch of a button. This was also made a big marketting point.
    Then, there was Graffiti. Although already presented in earlier devices (see the HP Omnigo), graffiti was then included in a smaller, lighter, and simpler device, as a quick and reliable way to enter data on the go.
    And among other good points, there was the possibility to expand a Pilot's possibilities by adding new applications directly inside the main memory.
    We could say that the Palm gathered the best of two worlds : it was smart, with a useful power, just like the newton family members; and at the same time, it was compact and small, with simple to use applications just like the psion family.
    The Pilot 1000 and 5000 really started the revolution that the Newton was aiming at.
    As such, this machine here is the father of all the Palm/winCE devices we now live with!

    Processor : Motorola Dragonball OS : Palm OS 1
    RAM : 512KB? ROM : ??
    Graphic display : 160x160 Text display : variable fonts
    Display : B&W Input :Stylus, Graffiti

    Built-in Applications :
    Schedule, Telephone Directory, To Do list, Memo, Calculator, Multi-app search function, Setup Utilities

    Open to other applications : Yes
    Ports :
    - one communication port for cradle connexion

    Geek fact of the day : the original Pilot is almost exactly the same size as the Apple Newton screen.
    No need to say, the Newton is thus huge compared to modern PDAs. The Newton however benefits from the bigger size : it has a bigger, better resolution screen (240x320 instead of 160x160) and more interfaces and connectivity. Still, newer machines the size of the original Pilot came out with better specs than the newton, as a proof of evolving technology.
    Apart from the appealing price, i think what made the difference in making the Pilot a worldwide success where the Newton failed to actually create it's market is the compact size.