I’ve been a long time user of all types of PDAs – personal digital assistants [well, personal displays of affection, too, just not in public]. Starting with the Atari Portfolio back in 1989.

Atari Portfolio

Atari Portfolio
Atari Portfolio – which I don’t own anymore
Original image found on pugo.org

I used that Portfolio a lot. It was pretty revolutionary for it’s time. It ran DOS 2.11 and could work with all sorts of programs, kept my address book updated and I was able to keep tons of notes.

HP Palmtops

HP 95LX – which I also no longer have
Original image found on teclas.org

After a few years, I decided to migrate to a newer, smaller PDA. The HP 95LX also ran DOS and was able to help me stay just as organized, only with more tools and options. I used it for quite a while, even upgrading to the 100LX, the faster model that was just as good at keeping all of my information accessible.

Windows CE

Windows CE
Windows CE device in monochrome – before the color models

Sticking with the keyboard model, I moved up to a Windows CE device, which ran a lighter version of Windows. You could load programs onto it [today known more commonly as apps], the calendar was pretty easy to view events and note taking was a lot easier than previous PDAs. I used different models for a while before I switched again.

Palm OS

Palm III
I still own this model, even though it wasn’t my first Palm

Most people remember the Palm. It was the touch screen model that changed the face of any PDA and future smart phones. My first was the Palm Professional. I think I paid a good $300 for it back in 1997 and used it for a long time before graduating up the Palm IIIx, which I still have. I also used a Palm m505 with a color screen, which was much thinner than the older Palm PDAs.

Palm modem
How we used to get online before WiFi – dial-up modem

And the Palm could even go online, albeit dial-up through a phone line using the attached modem at 33.6kbs. No speed demon, but it worked. And thanks to MSN, I was able to get email and browse the web.

Treo 755p
My previous phone – the Treo 755p

It took me a while to make the jump to using a phone/PDA combination device, which is essentially a smart phone. I used the Treo 650 for a good year before upgrading to the Treo 755p. It was the one phone that really sold me on having a device that could do it all. Wireless broadband 3G speeds kept me up to date with email and the web.

I now use a Palm Pre, which is not bad, but as I’ve blogged about before, the iPhone is where I’d like to be, using a single PDA-like device.


So there you have it. A history of my PDA use. Who else has lived with these devices for years? More than 10? More than 20? Comment away.