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Handhelds Artifacts

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Laugh Parade's take on the PalmPilot
Credit: Laugh Parade


Early handheld computers were fixed function personal organizers with limited computing power. In the mid 1990s, “Personal Digital Assistants” were miniature, stand-alone computers. Expensive and with limited functionality, most early entries, such as the Apple Newton and the Casio Zoomer, sold poorly. Designers learned that if PDAs were to succeed, they should function as remote accessories to PCs instead of being miniature PCs themselves. The PalmPilot succeeded commercially not only because it was small, fast and inexpensive, but also because Palm designed the device to synchronize with a PC. The PalmOS operating system further contributed to the device’s success by enabling companies and individual programmers to add a variety of useful software applications.

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