I am a self-confessed ‘Geek’, my family will confirm this. I have enjoyed owning and using a number of gadgets over the years – this is a list of my favorites, and includes some of the ones that I feel were most important in the development of the genre:
I started my love affair with personal organisers with Psion, arguably the creators of the modern Personal organiser (Palm and Apple don’t count).
Starting with a Psion Siena I soon realised that these little machines were in fact amazingly powerful. The Siena was small, would sync with my PC and had a huge battery life (over a month on two AAA batteries). It could also act as a spreadsheet, word and database machine. All operating from the Epoc operating system which was amazingly small and efficient (and capable of multi tasking – not something Palm could do until recently!). In fact Palm appear to be on the ascendant again with the Pre, but that is another story!
My next purchase (at considerable cost – £425 over 10 years ago) was a Psion 5mx. This was without doubt the peak of the Psion design and is still a very worthy machine. Instant on and with still in my opinion the best small keyboard ever that slides out magically when you open the machine. Again battery life was excellent and it synchronised with PC’s well and converted Excel and Word files for editing on the unit. I used this machine for a number of years and it is still capable of making people ask what it is if I get it out on a train or similar. It was without doubt a ‘world best’ at the time.
The 5mx remained in use for many years together with my last Psion – the Netbook. Yes, forget the current crop of netbooks. The first one was around 10 years ago and had a full colour screen, instant on and is still an amazing machine.
Unfortunately in true British style, Psion abandoned the personal organiser market, so I was left to find an alternate outlet for my craving!
My time with this OS was started via a bargain purchase of a iPAQ1910 unit. Very small and basic and running the 2002 version of Microsoft PPC. It opened my eyes to what was possible. It didn’t have a keyboard but the quantity of 3rd party software was amazing – I was hooked, good linking with Microsoft Outlook and Office was also a bonus – no file converters needed now!
Having established this was the way forward I invested in a ‘rolls royce’ Pocket PC of its day, a Pocket Loox 720. This had a VGA screen, massive memory (for its time) and a fast processor. It also ran 2003se the latest OS from Microsoft. I also had a GPS route planner and lots of other software and still use this machine at home to manage my finances. An infrared keyboard also makes it useable as a word processor.
A series of Microsoft based smartphones followed running a mixture of touch and non touch screen software, but none really impressed me as much. They really didn’t work well as phones. However due to work changing provider from Orange to O2 I became an iPhone user and am now fully in love with this as a phone.
If I am honest when we first got our iPhone 3G’s they were OK but not great. Apple are well-known for getting it right on the third release, this was the second! But after a few OS upgrades and now using the fourth release of iPhone – the 4 – we have a very impressive tool. It still has some shortcomings; but we now have multitasking and the calendar data is finally accessible to external programs. Luckily Pocket Informant that was so great on PPC is now available and is SO much better than the Apple offering.
The future? It’s not desktop computing – that is for sure! I have an iPad now and it is becoming an integral part of my life. I am also becoming a real apple fan – a MacBook pro has replaced my PC at work and I am slowly converting everyone at home to Apple……..