Feeds

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

The 1980s to the Present

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Towards total mobility...

Psion Organiser

Psion Organiser II

Source: babbagecabbage

Throughout the early 1980s, Psion was best known as a provider of software for Sinclair computers, but in 1984 it launched the Organiser, its first hardware product and what is almost certainly the world’s first handheld computer - even though it was really only used to run basic personal information management software. Two years later, Psion released a much more advanced model, the Organiser II, which is now considered the first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), though the term wasn’t coined - by Apple’s then-CEO, John Sculley - until 1992. More than a personal-data entry and presentation device, the Organiser II had a programming language, OPL, allowing to to run general-purpose applications. Psion soon shifted away from organiser functionality to focus on handheld computing with devices like the Series 3 and Series 5. Its EPOC OS would eventually become Symbian.

IBM/BellSouth Simon

BellSouth IBM Simon BellSouth IBM Simon

Source: Bill Buxton/The Buxton Collection

By 1994, Psion had already defined the PDA market with the Organiser II and Apple had made it a laughing stock with the Newton MessagePad. Now IBM would take the PDA to the next level: incorporate cellular phone connectivity to create the first smartphone, the Simon, released in August 1994. IBM had shown the prototype in November 1992, but it took the intervening 18 months to get the software right. Simon, sold by US telco BellSouth, had a stylus- or finger-operated 4.5in touchscreen on which were presented phone, personal info, email and other PDA-style apps, all running on a 16MHz x86-compatible CPU. Simon was a chunky, clunky affair and was discontinued in 1995. The following year, Nokia would release the 9000 Communicator and show how to do it properly.

Apple iPad

Apple iPad 2010

It was the Mac all over again. Apple didn’t invent the tablet, or the tablet-centric operating system, but its iPad nonetheless has done more than any other platform to popularise this form-factor. Indeed, while GUI computing would have become dominant without the Mac, there’s a case for claiming that today’s array of tablets would not have arrived without the iPad. Would smartphones have gained bigger screens? For sure. But rivals’ feverish rush to emulate the iPad’s success with 10in tablets of their own shows the Apple gadget was a groundbreaker.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!
N1 mini-'slab to plop into crowded pond next year
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that
The format that wouldn’t die is officially in remission
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.