Feeds

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

The 1980s to the Present

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.