From the bulky analog computers to the modern day palmtops, the computing devices have come a long way. Though reduced in sizes significantly, the present day devices are way ahead in terms of technology and functionality. Palmtops in particular are among the best examples to prove how computer hardware has undergone remarkable changes in the past few decades.
Popularly known by the names like personal digital assistance (PDA) and pocket computer, a palmtop computer is designed to be a compact handheld device. Discovered around 30 years ago, these devices have improved in terms of design and functionality. The following sections discuss the past and present of palmtops.
Evolution from Calculators:
The first palmtop computer like device was launched in the year 1983 with the name Casio PF-3000. The device became popular as an advanced form of calculators and was able to perform functions like storing telephones and addresses. The next idea was to design devices that would work as portable information organizers. Organizer I and Organizer II are regarded as the earliest models of pocket computers launched respectively in 1984 and 1986 by a British company called Psion.
Some of the features of these devices included EPROM storage, software written in POPL language, Hitachi processors and LCD screens. While Organizer I lacked it, Organizer II had a single-tasking operating system and support for end-user programmability. External slots for connectivity with other devices were also introduced in the latter. These devices were later succeeded by Psion Series 3 and Series 5 palmtops with new computer hardware like QWERTY keyboards and operating system called SIBO.
Introduction of PDAs:
Personal digital assistants came into being with the launch of Newton by Apple in 1992. The device featured object-oriented storage databases and a variety of application software programs. It was followed by Nokia 9000 Communicator, the PDA launched in 1996 and regarded as the bestselling PDA till date. The device and its successors like 9110 and 9210 served as precursors to the modern day smart phones. Palm was another company in the later part of 1990s that came up with improved range of palmtop computer devices. Palm Pilot was one of these products which in the form of higher versions continue to sell even today.
Today, the smart phones launched by the companies like Nokia and Blackberry are regarded as the palmtops or PDAs. It is certainly exciting to find an extremely wonderful variety of features that make these devices hugely capable. Touch screen interactivity in advanced form is one such feature worth mentioning. Apart from virtual keyboards, these devices also support external keyboards that can be connected through different ports and technologies.
A modern day palmtop computer may support a range of memory cards, like SD cards, micro SD cards and Compact Flash cards. Wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also supported by these devices that run on the sophisticated operating systems like Windows Mobile and Android.
The journey of palmtops added a new dimension to the history of computer hardware and personal computing. With constant advancement in process, one can expect to find even better devices in the near future.
SonyのPalmTop Computer初期型のプレス発表配布用プロモーション・ビデオ。 1989年ポトマック株式会社制作。（1 inch format） PV for press announcement of PalmTop Computer initial type of Sony.