Feeds

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

The 1980s to the Present

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
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
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.
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.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.