The AA-powered, pocket-sized touch daddy
The ground-breaking personal digital assistant (PDA) pulled in a record 1,199 votes to land first place in The Reg poll: what technology is ripe for revival next?
The catalyst was HMD’s decision to revive the much-loved Nokia 3310.
Second by a long way was the Sony Walkman Stereo Cassette player, with 672 votes, and in third place was Atari’s 2600 console – which succeeded in turning 1970s youf arcade game culture into a wholesome front-room experience.
The Series 5 benefited from 10 years of development on organisers from plucky British tech firm Psion, which started life building software with Sinclair Research.
With the Series 5, Psion managed the successful combination of hardware and software.
An ARM handheld computer ahead of its time, it weighed just 350 grams, packed a set of rich productivity apps – making it a hit with business types – keyboard and touch-screen input and a battery life of up to 20 hours courtesy not of some specialized or sealed unit but a pair or ordinary AAs. All that in clamshell you could snap shut and pop in your pocket.
Downsides? Too few to mention, but downsides nonetheless: a tiny, grey scale screen useless in direct sun and a screen cable with a reputation for breaking.
Reflecting on his 5mx, the slightly faster twin of the Series 5, which appeared in 1999, Reg reader David Robinson wrote:
Martin an gof concurred:
- keep the form-factor
- keep the stylus
- keep the thing running for a week on a pair of AAs
Not everything was perfect, and those AA batteries came with a downside.
According to G R Roslyn:
If it were to return, how should the Series 5 be reborn?
The EE 701 Paddock had some ideal keep the keyboard, fix the screen cable and uipdate with two decades of advances in tech: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD or MicroSD, capacity colour touchscreen.
The only question: operating system. Linux or Android? ®