Look at this cute little bugger. It features a touchpad, removable storage in the form of sold state disks (SSDs) and a claimed battery life from 8 AA alkaline batteries of 60 hours. All this in 1989!
The Psion MC 400 mobile computer was truly way ahead of it’s time. It had the first touchpad, although it was a bit cumbersome by today’s standards. Ran a OS that would later morph into the Symbian OS adopted by Nokia for its early smartphones. Crazy, huh?
The Psion is powered by an Intel 80C86 processor and has 256 Kb of memory, so you won’t be playing Minecraft on it. For external connectivity there’s a standard parallel port, a 9 pin mini DIN RS232 port and Psion’s fast serial link, a precursor if you like to USB. The parallel and RS232 ports are contained within a removable module that slides into one of the two identical sockets found on the rear of the machine. Other modules including a modem were available. Sadly, no WIFI. The screen is a non-backlit LCD with a 640 x 400 resolution, that’s right no backlight. To see the screen on this bad boy, which is also not color, you have to tilt it to just the right angle.
Time Magazine in their All Time 100 Gadgets as one of five gadgets ahead of their time. Back in the day it cost a whopping $1376.51,
one of the reasons it didn’t sell too well (think of the all shoes that could buy).
It is able to run several programs (think apps) that come on SSD, a text editor, diary(hell’s yeah!), personal database, calculator, file manager, terminal emulator and word processor.
If they could just figure out how to get my phone to go 60 hours between charges, I would so be happy.