PDA blast from the past

Palm VII vs. Nokia E61

I was going through an old box of gadgets and found my Palm VII. I couldn’t resist snapping a quick picture to share next to my Nokia E61 (with GSM / GPRS / 802.11g / Bluetooth / 16MM colors / 320 x 240 pixel screen / Email / Web / IM / miniSD / more).

I was so excited the day the PalmVII arrived at the Scottsdale BestBuy back in October 1999. I was at SalesLogix at the time and bought all seven units that arrived at the store. I signed up for the PalmNet service at $30 a month for unlimited data.

I thought the idea of my PDA connecting to get email was going to revolutionize my life. Being able to get driving directions from Mapquest. Being able to check flight info.

Well, the Palm VII wasn’t the device to do it — it was too slow and clunky (almost industrial in retrospect). It really took the Blackberry and the Treo 180 to finally get something close to what I had dreamed about. But we’re talking about 1999, just 7 short years ago. Miniaturization, wireless advances, data over cell networks–this and more has moved things along.

What’s coming…more of the same, but smaller, faster, better. WiMax and SIP clients will let you take “desk” calls on your 802.11x supported device (that’s here now). Support for 40 GB memory chips. Video capture and publishing that will offer just-in-time reporting from millions of “average-Jos,” the modern-day journalists in the field with fast data uploads to blogs or the next socially connected CMS solution (watch out CNN).

This will get fun.


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