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Handhelds Portables (Apple) Hardware

Second Post-Apple Newton Life? 168

Posted by michael
from the newton-beyond-thunderdome dept.
An anonymous reader with a lot of time on his hands writes "As seen on Slashdot b e f o r e, the Newton refuses to die. Since Apple discontinued it, it got ATA, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zeroconf and even a NES emulator. Now, several Mac news sites r e p o r t, Newton users founded an association with John Sculley, who pushed the Newton at Apple, as its honorary president. They're organizing a conference in Paris in September. How long until all these users switch to new hardware?"
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Second Post-Apple Newton Life?

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  • Inertia (Score:4, Funny)

    by john_smith_45678 (607592) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:05PM (#9795687) Journal
    Sounds like Newton has an inertia of its own!

    "An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."
  • by lxt (724570) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:07PM (#9795694) Journal
    The Newton does the same job of my Palm Tungsten - and even surpasses it (my Tungsten E doesn't yet have WiFi support, and I can pick up a second hand Newton for quite a bit cheaper). Clearly though, this is a niche market. My Newton is too large for me to use regularly, but it's a great curiosity.

    I think of the Newton like the NES - the games on the NES were great, and are still very popular (take the recent GameBoy Advance NES special edition). The NES formed the basis of many great consoles to come. But even though the NES is still a great machine (like the Newton), I probably would prefer to play on a PlayStation. Although, the flaw in this (rather basdly though out) analogy between the Newton and the NES would be one of them sold extremely well...
    • I would switch mine because the touch screen randomly drops out sometimes mid stroke.

      Last I checked this was a bug without a fix.

      Also it is frikken huge. Not so big as to be terrible to carry in a sack or briefecase or something, but too big to carry in a pocket.

      • I would switch mine because the touch screen randomly drops out sometimes mid stroke.

        Never heard of that. Sounds like a hardware problem. I once saw a Newt with the Squiggles, something that some Newts get as they age... But the touch screen problem you describe certainly isn't some bug endemic to the Newton. I'm sure it was annoying enough to warrant either buying another Newt or switching, tho.

        Fit in my pocket. I'm not saying it wasn't big, but I'd slip it into my back pocket. No problem walking around, etc. It beat having to take a laptop around, that's fer darn sure.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        > Also it is frikken huge. Not so big as to be terrible to carry in a sack or briefecase or something, but too big to carry in a pocket.

        I think that was a major factor that killed it. I think Jobs rightly saw that the demand would plateau, cheaper PDA's that were more *portable* were on the horizon, and that Apple would lose margin. There was the eMate, but "real" laptops were already hitting the big time. Margin was going to sink through the floor, and Apple doesn't do well with low margins, Dell do
    • by BWJones (18351) * on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:24PM (#9795760) Homepage Journal
      Your Newton can also function as a web server among many other things, but the important thing to remember about the Newton is that this was all possible over ten years ago when the Newton was introduced in 1993 making a return on investment for a Newton quite impressive.

      This also brings up another issue......Since Apple has left the PDA market, how much innovation has occurred? Color screens perhaps, but what else?

      • 400 MHz cpu's
        more portability
        much longer battery life
        wifi, bluetooth (built in)
        ability to play hours of video/music
        web browsing, etc....
        • by cioxx (456323) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:20PM (#9796000) Homepage
          400 MHz cpu's
          more portability
          much longer battery life
          wifi, bluetooth (built in)
          ability to play hours of video/music
          web browsing, etc....

          This is natural progression, not innovation. I think you're confusing theese two things.
        • I don't consider those to be innovatoins. Continued improvements in miniaturization and reduced power consumption lead to most of those advances, and the web itself taking off the last. None, however, are particularly innovative - its whats happened across the entire industry.
        • Yeah, you can get a faster CPU in something newer.

          But battery life? Nope. Newton outlasts almost all PocketPCs and newer Palm OS models. Sure, a Palm III running on a couple AAs will still outlast a Newton MP2100, but the Newton will outlast my Clie NX70V or Dell Axim any day of the week.

          More portable? That depends on what you mean. Yes, a PalmOne Tungsten E is smaller, but the Newton is more useful. The Newton replaced a laptop for me, which in the end gives you a lot more portability per unit volume than almost anything else.

          Wifi and bluetooth- built-in. Well, I suppose you could always use the "built-in" argument. You can get wifi and BT cards for the Newton, though.

          And you can play hours of music- though not video so much. I used to use a 2 GB PCMCIA hard drive- same kind as in the iPod- in my Newton with the ATA driver. Worked like a charm. Even synced with iTunes over ethernet. Unless you have a PCMCIA slot, using a PDA as an mp3 player kind of sucks. Unless you want to spend a month's pay on a couple GB CF or SD cards. My Jornada 720 had a PCMCIA slot too, but since I've used those, I've stopped using my PDA as an MP3 player. Too much hassle to put the two albums I can fit on it every morning, which translates into me not doing it. And having the same The Cure and Atmosphere albums on my PDA all the damn time got old.

          Who watches videos on their PDA? I suppose, on my Clie NX70V- which has an MPEG4 decoder chip- I tried watching Kill Bill, conveniently downloaded in Clie-ready format. But it blew. Same with on my Sigmarion 3, which has a nicer 5" 800x480 screen. Still blew. Who wants to watch a movie on a tiny screen? Hell, I don't bother watching movies on my iBook screen, let alone a wee PDA screen. Maybe if you were some crazy teevee addict, maybe then it'd be worth it.

          Web browsing? I'd been browsing the web on my Newton via ethernet, and then wifi, before it occured to anyone to give a Palm III a big add-on modem cradle to fetch email.
          • The OS limits things, and now it's as discontinued as the Newtwon, but My Handera 330 is pretty dang sweet. *Two* expansion slots, one CF, one SD. I have a 128MB SD card for apps and data (and for PalmOS, where a large app is ~300K, that's practically infinite), and a 48MB CF card for backups. Plus a CF 802.11 card, and that makes a big difference. Surfing and email anywhere.

            Weeks on a set of AAAs (Wifi does suck power, but not as much as you'd think), small and portable. I've got the clip-on GPS and a fo

        • I don't think any of those are innovations either - the Newton already supported networking before, which browsing/wifi are just extensions of.

          It did as others noted have a fairly ong battery life, and has a decent CPU that's more powerful than some Palm models today.

          I think the original poster s correct, there has been little evolution on the PDA space so far. About the closest I can think of is the expanding screen on the Tungsten T, or the combination cell-phone and PDA of the Treo (though even that I
      • Scott E Vests, cell phone integration. I consider those two to be very innovative (and usefull).
    • Another place the NES breaks down is that the NES is ancient, technology wise. The Newton isn't, at least not compared to most of today's PDAs. The Newton has a 162 MHz StrongARM, still quite capable compared to a lot of the Palm OS units and even quite a few of the PocketPC models. You can upgrade that to 220 MHz if you're that kind of person. And as you and the poster mentioned, new hardwares being supported all the time. Yes, the NES has some great games, but the Newton is more than a curiosity with a couple decent apps, at least for the people that use them.

      I stopped using my Newton a year ago. It's a shame. I had some good reasons, but what it came down to is that it didn't support one app that I can run on PocketPC or Linux PDAs- Squeak Smalltalk. If it wasn't for that, I'd still be using the Newton right now. Heck, when I got a Linux Zaurus C760 I still used the Newton for "PDA" stuff, especially taking notes, something the Newton still beats Palm OS and Linux by far. PocketPC- with the built-in notes app- gets pretty close, but a tiny 320x240 screen doesn't cut it for me. Linux PDAs have the saddest excuses for notetaking software ever, which had me taking both the Newton and the Zaurus with me for the day.

      The Newton 2100, being released in 1997, still does a lot. Before I jumped ship, it was my main computer at home- I IRC'd, email'd, telnet/ssh'd, VNC'd, browsed the web, programmed (in NewtonScript and LittleLisp)- all wirelessly using a standard Orinoco WaveLAN 802.11b card. Worked like a dream. If only we could get an updated Newton... *sigh*
    • "Although, the flaw in this (rather basdly though out) analogy between the Newton and the NES would be one of them sold extremely well..."

      Your comparison of the Newton to the Nintendo Entertainment System is insightful, but the greater flaw in your analogy is that Nintendo released later generations of the NES, i.e. the Super Nintendo, N64, and GameCube. You can play the GameCube instead of the Sony Playstation, but you can't use an iNewton2 instead of a Sony Clie.

      Nintendo took the market share it had established with the original NES, and then channeled it into the Super Nintendo, another successful console. Even now, almost two decades since I first player Super Mario Brothers, I can play Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube.

      Apple, on the other hand, has apparently squandered the lead it had with handhelds. Apple had (and amazingly, still has) an ardent user base for the Newton. Steve must realize this. Therefore, although Apple has a lot on its plate right now, I would not be surprised to see a resurrection of the Newton ("iNewton", "iPalm", etc), or for the iPod to evolve into a machine with handheld-like functionality.

      • I must say, your analysis of the Newton-as-NES analogy was superb. However, the greatest flaw in this analogy is not the lack of later generations. What is it, say you? The color, of course. The Newton is a very dark green and the NES is grey.

        Ok, that was a joke.

        But there was a progression of models with the Newton- from the OMP (original message pad) to the MP 2100, with the different form factor of the eMate tossed in there. The difference between NewtonOS 1.x and 2.x was greater than NES and SNES.

        B
    • I want an eMate II (Score:4, Interesting)

      by commodoresloat (172735) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:38PM (#9796104)
      The eMate is the coolest thing. Ever. But what's wrong with it is that the processor is too slow. And while it's true that there are projects making the newton OS work with wifi, bluetooth, etc., in practice, I can do very little with this stuff. I bought a wifi card that is supposed to be compatible but found out it doesn't work with 802.11b. I'm not sure what it works with, but it's useless to me since my network, like most people's, is 802.11. I got an ethernet card that is supposed to work. There are drivers. But the catch is the ethernet card is only good to use for AppleTalk, and I can't see the device under OS X. I got a Keyspan USB adapter to install programs and it works for five minutes then the computer (not the newton) crashes. This happens whether I use Escale, NewTen, or NewtSync. All of these may be problems stemming from my own impatience; I haven't spent more than a few sleepless nights trying to get this stuff to work. But in answer to your question about why new hardware, two reasons: 1 - faster processing. It would be so great to have this emate run as fast as a new palm. 2 - you don't need to give up your job and family and friends to spend time getting things to connect to modern systems that it really isn't intended to connect to. It's great for hackers but not for the rest of us. Finally, I want to add why I do want a new newton -- the OS is great, but what I really love is the form factor of the emate. The newton handhelds are cool too but as the parent points out, too large. But for someone like me who needs to write a lot and who likes a good keyboard, the eMate is the godfather of portables. It's light. It's plastic, and it takes a beating. Its keyboard has great response but is almost totally silent so you can sit in a lecture room and type notes without bugging your neighbors. It has a handle. Handles rule. Apple should put handles on everything. It has instant on -- no waiting for the damn thing to boot. And it's a chick magnet! Oh please Apple, or anyone, figure out how to put a modern processor in a case like this. I don't even need a color screen (prefer battery life!) or tons of disk space or mp3 player or camera or any of that stuff -- just give me portability, battery life, basic text editor applications, some internet stuff - web browser, minimalistic email program, and a telnet/ssh terminal program.
      • I used to dream of an eMate, too. Then I saw these [alphasmart.com] and the dream changed.
  • by fidget42 (538823) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:08PM (#9795699)
    I liked the article [crazyapplerumors.com] that Crazy Apple Rumors had on it.
  • by djhankb (254226) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:09PM (#9795706) Homepage
    I have a 2000, and i personally love it's form factor, it has a nice large screen. I use it for about everything you would normally use a PDA for.. Calendaring, contacts, etc etc.
    I also use it for things such as doing Serial consoles on headless linux servers. The large screen makes the serial term a bit easier to use.

    Who needs a color screen anyway, when you have a nice big green one =P not to mention the twin 5v PCMCIA slots for uber-expandability.

    Also a good portion of the newton software makers, have long since been giving away their former products, so the software is free as well.

    Long Live the Newton!

    -Henry

  • by RegalBegal (742288) <regalbegal@@@gmail...com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:10PM (#9795710) Homepage
    Apple using their iPod popularity to move excitement to a handheld marketed to a younger generation.

    I know it sounds confounded but think. They are blowing away the rest of the mp3 player competitors due to their marketing.

    Now, I don't think Jobs would even consider something like that, actually he's laugh me out of whatever room I'm in if I mentioned it.

    But if they can create such a buzz with the iPod couldn't they ride the buzz with a hip pocket organizer or even a program that syncs with the iPod combining all the third party news grab and weather grab apps into something that the iPod user could use to sync with other information.

    Could they translate this underground buzz into something big? I think so.
    • But if they can create such a buzz with the iPod couldn't they ride the buzz with a hip pocket organizer or even a program that syncs with the iPod combining all the third party news grab and weather grab apps into something that the iPod user could use to sync with other information.

      iSync already synchronizes contacts and appointments to an iPod. Further, you can put text files into a root-level folder on the iPod called "Notes", and they appear under Extras->Notes(you can put notes on the root level

      • Yeah, except for that little bummer about not being able to enter new text onto the iPod. Kind of limits its usefulness as a "PDA."

        The "rudimentary database" support you speak of is having text files that a meaty hu-man organizes.
      • What makes iPod famous, is also it's simplicity. So that's not really a good idea to add functionnalities :)
      • I'm actually using my iPod as an eBook-reader when I'm on vacation. I've got four Douglas Adams eBooks (in ASCII text format) on it as notes (I split them into multiple smaller files, because it has a rather small file size limit), works fine for reading, esp. with the backlight on.

        People tend to get confused on why I'm staring on my iPod for multiple hours in a row, though :)

        You can use some limited HTML-tags in those notes (esp. links), btw.

  • How Long? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:10PM (#9795712)
    Considering there are still people running Apple ][+ hardware (not just emulators), I don't think the Newton will die anytime soon.
    • High quality, over-designed hardware
    • A unique user experience
    • New third party development
    • Re:How Long? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kevin Burtch (13372) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:05PM (#9796232)

      At least with the Apple ][ line, Apple eventually released DOS 3.3 and ProDOS for free.

      It'd be really nice if they ever released (and open-sourced) the Newton OS... you'd think with brass like Scully behind 'em, they'd be able to get this done. It has no value to Apple any more, so why not?

      The only reason I can imagine for them hanging onto the OS is if they plan to release a new version of it (and the hardware), and I can't imagine them doing that after this amount of time out of the market.

      Maybe Scully will talk Apple into allowing an offshoot company to produce a new one and see how it sells... should sell much better than before, considering how much of a "movement" is behind then with the iPods already... they've figured out the marketing hooks to use, so why not?

      Anyone who's interested in this idea should send either Scully himself, or this new association recommending such. With enough "grassroots" effort, they might be convinced to go with it!
      • Re:How Long? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RevAaron (125240) <revaaronNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:44PM (#9796428) Homepage
        Except, the Newton OS seems to have *some* value to Apple. There is InkWell in OS X, which is Newton handwriting recognition.

        People have tried to convince Apple to open source the Newton OS. Apple has claimed that it cannot- be it for copyright/patent, value or personal reasons. Everyone knows Jobs hated the Newton. Some people seem to think he's set a no OSing of NOS policy because of this, though that sounds like a helluva grudge.

        You can already get the NewtonOS, at least in the binary sense that you can ProDOS. There are utilities for doing a ROM dump. Feel free to reverse engineer it.
        • You're assuming that even though they've essentially lost the brainshare that was the Newton team, that Apple still has the software.

          Unless someone was actively maintaining it, it's likely fallen off of the servers, lost in a head crash or some such. "It's just Newton - nobody will miss it."
          • They have at least some if it around- like I said, they used their NewtonOS HWR in OS X, as InkWell. Perhaps you meant that post for my parent?
            • by bandy (99800)
              But didn't it come from an outside party? Perhaps they simply bought it again.
              • Nope, Apple developed it. In Newton OS 2.x, there were two HWR methods- the "cursive" recognizer developed in-house by Apple ("Rosetta"), now used in OS X as Inkwell; and ParaGraph's "printing" recognizer, used also in older NewtonOSes and now a days in PenOffice, CalliGrapher and MS Transcriber.
      • Re:How Long? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArcticCelt (660351)
        I don't think Sully can have any influence on Apple as long as Jobs remain in command.

        After seeing the hate and grudge that Jobs still have against Scully I thing Steve Jobs simply don't wants to hear about the Newton. That device is Scully's baby and Jobs wants the thing to remain dead. The first thing he did when he returned to Apple was to kill the project and I suspect that this choice wasn't only a business rational decision. I admire Jobs but for what I have read about him I can say that he purpose
    • If they can make it 'till 2015 the patents will have run out so they can go nuts. :)

      Actually, this year the last of the //e patents should expire...
  • Upgrade to what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onegoodpenguin (764612) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:10PM (#9795715)
    Which new hardware, exactly, will they switch to? A close co-worker of mine refuses to lay his Newton to rest, asserting that there are no modern products that compare. This is a subjective opinion of his, of course, but it establishes the sentiments that the users of this ancient PDA seem to share.
    • Re:Upgrade to what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steveha (103154)
      I'd be interested to see a hardcore Newton fan actually make a list of what it would take to get him to switch to something new.

      Suppose the Oqo [oqo.com] ever emerges from vapor as something you could actually buy. Then put a Linux 2.6 kernel on it, and your choice of desktop (KDE or GNOME). In some ways this would be better than a Newton (faster processor, color screen). How would a Newton user like this? What essential Newton features are missing?

      I understand that the Newton used a "data soup" more than expli
      • Storage is kind of like the Newton OODB, but Storage uses SQL, no? The Newton data store was an object database. I use something similar (an OODBMS called Magma) in Dynapad, my Newton replacement.

        In addition, there is the Sony Vaio U series. See Dynamism [dynamism.com], they import em. The OQO has been one helluva disapointment. If I get the job I'm waiting on, I may buy one of these Sony U-series to finally replace my Newton. I've had a lot of things I've tried to replace it with, but nothing has done an adequate j
      • My list (Score:5, Interesting)

        by commodoresloat (172735) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:02PM (#9796223)
        I'd be interested to see a hardcore Newton fan actually make a list of what it would take to get him to switch to something new.

        I will. I'm an emate fan as I noted in an earlier post. Here's what I want:

        • Form factor of the original. It's different for the handheld newtons but for the emate this means a usable keyboard that makes very little noise and a handle (and preferably indestructible green plastic around everything).
        • An option to get a greyscale screen. Color will be cool but I prefer battery life and it would be great if there was a much cheaper greyscale option.
        • A reasonably fast processor -- no need for 300+MHz they're putting in Axims and stuff, just something as fast as what's in last year's Palms.
        • Easy internet with wifi, as well as easy sync of key documents. My biggest complaint about my emate is I can't figure out how to turn the stuff I type into documents on my computer that I can edit easily. Or put textfiles from my computer onto my emate. I can do this with any new pda (I can even do it with my ipod).
        • Text editor. Something simple like the notepad included is fine, though preferably something with more modern capabilities. A NewtonOS equivalent of BBEdit would ROCK. (Yeah yeah so would emacs, I suppose).
        • A terminal emulater that at least does ssh connections.
        • A simple web browser.
        • An email program.
        That's about it. I don't want a camera, mp3 player, or phone, but any of those things could be included as options. You don't need to design something I can hold with my neck -- just stick a headset jack on the machine. Personally I want it to look like the emate. That oqo is pretty cool looking but I bet the keypad is a bitch to type on. If you're just talking about handhelds, I'd ditch the keypad, or maybe just leave a number pad for dialing (assuming it's a cellphone) on one side of it, but otherwise just go for something like the Clie T55 form factor. Keep it simple. There's no need for a keypad nobody will use. If you want a usable keyboard, make a bigger device. Those are just my thoughts, I'm sure others will disagree....
      • Newton runs on First Cabin grade software. Even with the dongle port there's little refutation possible about that.

        The point you're missing is that Newton isn't about Hardware [with the exception that the hardware has allowed it to remain viable for so long], the Newtie is all about Software. Without the NewtonOS, it just wouldn't be worth it. The level of integration among the apps made Newton what it is today.
        • first cabin grade HARDWARE . d'oh!
        • Without the NewtonOS, it just wouldn't be worth it. The level of integration among the apps made Newton what it is today.

          How hard would it be to take GNOME and extend it in NewtonOS-like ways? What about NewtonOS holds your loyalty so?

          If you prefer KDE, stick that in the above instead of GNOME.

          In other words: Newton is gone, NewtonOS no longer developed. What are the key features of NewtonOS that would need to be copied before you would consider the Newton successfully cloned?

          steveha
    • Which new hardware, exactly, will they switch to?

      Well, you could present the question this way: assume the Newton was re-introduced and now the Newton 2000 lines the shelves beside the latest and greatest Palm and Pocket PC devices. Assuming a similar price point, how many Newtons would sell? If the Palm and Pocket PC devices outsell the Newtons, why? Which item ends up being a viable alternative to the other?
  • Funny how... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward (668736) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:14PM (#9795723)

    Funny how the lousy 1 character links (Thanks Michael!!! not) are just 2 stories above a story about lousy UI design. Go figure.

    What ever happened to letting us know where the links to go? For some reason, I have a feeling that single character links are not what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind for this thing.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:14PM (#9795724)
    The Newton Community is a very interesting case of users continuing to support a product which for all intents and purposes should have died years ago. Is there a good reason, other than 'I hate everything that Microsoft does no matter what and nobody will ever change my mind', why these users would not be satisified with a shinny new TabletPC or Pocket PC? On the other hand why does Apple continue to shun these users when there is clearly a market for an new Apple handheld computing device? Strange that Apple would not wish to compete with Microsoft by offering their own version of the TabletPC. Perhaps some Newton users could comment on these issues.
    • I recently switched from a Newton. The reason was important to me, but for most PDA users it wouldn't be.

      But, why not switch to a PocketPC or TabletPC? My answers:

      Every PocketPC out there now is too small. A crappy 320x240 screen. There is one model with a VGA screen (Toshiba e805), but the screen is physically still quite small. Crappy for taking notes.

      Why not a tabletPC? TabletPCs are expensive as hell, but more importantly HUGE. People talk about the Newton being big- I can't imagine putting what is basically a smaller laptop into my pocket. Nothing with a 10"-14" screen will fit in my pocket or be worth toting around all the time.

      The closest thing to replacing the Newton for me in what I did with the Newton is the Sigmarion III, which has a 5" 800x480 screen. It also has an attached keyboard, which is really great for somethings, but rules out using it as a tablet. Sure, it has a touch screen, but since it doesn't do the hide-the-keyboard convertible thing, it's always in the way. A pain. The Jornada 720 was similarily great- close, but no cigar.

      We Newton users are used to having what we want. Not something that *almost* does what we need.

      I still have not found *any* notetaking app that even touches the built-in Notes app in years of looking, for Palm OS, Linux or WinCE/PocketPC PDAs. Taking notes- recognized text mixed with sketches- was a dream on my Newton. On my Clie NX70V, Sigmarion 3 or Sharp Zaurus C760 it is a big hassle. Hell, on the Zaurus, taking my class notes is downright tourtous enough that I just went back to using my Newton for most things, with the one thing I couldn't do on my newton (Squeak Smalltalk) running on my Z.

      A couple things that could replace the Newton for me:
      The new, 5" 800x600 screen'd Sony Vaio, U series. Not technically a TabletPC, but close. No good notetaking app I've found yet for XP or Linux, but it'd be fun. But the Sony costs almost three times as much as the Newton 2100 did brand new, $2000. Yeah right. I'm not going to tote around a $2000 computer with me all the time. Not unless someone is willing to donate one to my worthy cause...

      Similar to this would be the OQO, although vapor doesn't do me any good.

      Or, the NEXiO S160. Has the same 800x480 screen as the Sigmarion 3, but with a slower 400 MHz PXA250 CPU. From what I've heard, people like it- but still, it costs $1300.

      As far as form factor, the NEXiO is about the closest thing I've seen to a Newton 2100. But a lot of Newton users- many of which are Mac users- aren't going to jump to the NEXiO, a device with no Mac support. But then again, at least the NEXiO runs real WinCE.NET 4.1- not crappy ol' PocketPC. Like the Newton, a real WinCE device doesn't need to be sync'd or connect to a desktop machine to be useful or to install apps.

      There's your answer- there are no good Newton replacements. The one that exists costs 4 times as much as a really good Newton setup does if purchased today- we're talking about the Newton 2100, with a keyboard, big memory card and wifi or ethernet.
      • I'm still trying to transition fully to my Fujitsu Stylistic (it has to replace my Newton MessagePad, and my NeXT Cube---it's a very serviceable replacement for my ThinkPad and Dock I).

        The note-taking software is a deal-breaker (as is battery life---I've _got_ to track down an AC adapter for use in my car).

        - Aha! InkWriter was absorbed into MS (and won't run on anything but Windows 3.1 for Pen Computing)
        - Lexicus Longhand and a bunch of other apps are vanished
        - IBM InkManager is interesting, but clu
      • How long has been since anybody did any work on dynapad?

        Just curious.
        • First, I'm the only one doing work on it as present. It's a project for my benefit. I've not done work for a few months though. Not much time for such when you're working 50 hrs/week and going to school full-time... :/ This fall I plan to get back into it, provided this "real" job of mine pans out, meaning I'd only work 40 hours a week and *no* school. A veritable vacation for me. :P
      • A crappy 320x240 screen. There is one model with a VGA screen (Toshiba e805), but the screen is physically still quite small.

        VGA mode 13h was 320x240 and supported 256 colours. It was the only VGA mode that supported linear (non-paged) addressing, so was popular for games.

    • by YouHaveSnail (202852) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:56PM (#9796192)
      The Newton Community is a very interesting case of users continuing to support a product which for all intents and purposes should have died years ago.

      Why, exactly, should Newton "have died years ago"? You buy a product to satsify a need. If the product satisfies that need, and continues to do so, why stop using it?

      Most of us have literally bought into the notion that only the latest, greatest version of a product can possibly meet our needs. Along with that comes the idea that only a product that's actively supported by its manufacturer is suitable for use. We're "consumers" because we buy a thing and use it until it's all used up -- we "consume" it -- and then we go buy another thing. This is great for an industry whose financial health is based on "upgrades." If we didn't all go buy new computers every few years, the computer industry would be in much worse shape than it is. But it's not necessarily in our own best interests.

      Newton is a case where a product designed well and implemented well served its purpose well, and continues to do so. The manufacturer no longer supports it, but that doesn't really make a difference to those for whom Newton currently works.

      If Nokia suddenly went out of business, would you instantly run out and buy a new phone? If Palm went belly-up, would you trash your Tungsten and buy something else? And if you would, why?
  • Some people may know me as the anti apple advocate however after using a newton (5 years ago) I must admit I was impressed by its ability to recognize handwriting, battery life, forward thinking construction and the fact that it was so ahead of its time(and still is in some ways)
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:18PM (#9795735) Homepage
    I started with a Newton. It was big and sort of clumsy physically, though. So, I went to a PalmOS device. It paled in functionality by comparison, though. So I went to a Windows CE-based device. It was slow and clumsy and just not as metaphorically intutive.

    In the end, I ended up with a Newton 2000 again. With other PDAs, I eventually just stop using them. With the Newton 2000, even though I bitch about its size, I find myself using it all the time.

    It recognizes my handwriting, as fast as I can write it, the way I write it (without needing a cursor to position the text, without needing to learn a special alphabet, without needing to write all letters over one another or write in a specific area of the screen). It has a unique chronological interface for categorizing and indexing (the index view vs. the content view, plus the "scrollable" nature of the content you create, rather than storing things in "files" or "documents").

    Recently a friend gave me a Linux-based Zaurus PDA. It's a great little PDA and it's cool to start the Terminal and type linux commands on the slide-out keyboard.

    But there's just nothing like the Newton; it's not a subtle difference at all... the Newton's entire user interface is a radical departure from anything else in computing, and until you've tried it for a week or two, you have no idea just how poorly designed current PDAs are, software-wise.
  • One word. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slasher999 (513533) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:18PM (#9795737)
    How long until all these users switch to new hardware?


    Amiga.


    Look at how long the Amiga fans have been holding onto that platform. If it wasn't for them, I would probably no longer remember what an Amiga even was. Same can be said for OS/2 - look at eComStation. Great products tend to outlast vendor interest.

    • Re:One word. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xugumad (39311)
      Dang, was going to use that example myself. It's a good point though - I only started moving away from Amiga in 1998, when I needed to do stuff that wasn't worth the effort making my Amiga (upgraded with a PowerPC processor by this point). I would have bought one of the new AmigaOne systems, if I hadn't stumbled across OS X first.

      People need to keep in mind, newer does not mean better, especially for certain uses. That P4 might be faster than my Amiga, but how's it's responsiveness while word processing, f
      • by doob (103898)
        Don't suppose anyone knows of where I could get one, do they?

        Certainly, go into any mobile phone shop and buy the phone that satisfies all the features you need. Then buy a tube of glue and a house brick...
  • by cluge (114877) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:46PM (#9795861) Homepage
    How long until all these users switch to new hardware?"

    Considering the number of Amiga fan sites, and people that still use Amigas - not any time soon.

    cluge
    AnygryPeopleRule
  • Newton Emulator? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Megane (129182) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:46PM (#9795866) Homepage
    Since modern PDAs run the same CPU as the Newton, why hasn't someone tried to write a Newton emulator for PocketPC, Zaurus, etc.? That would be the best of both worlds: Newton OS on a faster ARM CPU.
  • by pedantic bore (740196) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @03:56PM (#9795913)
    ... or an emate (remember them? They were a kind of Newton with a keyboard in a notebook format for the education market).

    Most computer users have gotten very used to the windows/mac/gnome/kde/cde/etc way of doing things. Sure, they all look different, but I'll bet you can figure out the basics and successfully get general user-level stuff after a little aclimitization. It's all the same ideas in different skins.

    The Newton interface is different. Whether you love it or hate it, it's still interesting to see that there are other ways of doing things.

  • by nonmaskable (452595) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:01PM (#9795923)
    My company bought me a first generation Newton when they came out and sent me to developer school for them - I prototyped a neat real estate app for them.

    Anyway, it (and the MP2000 I use today) are still great PDAs - does everything I need it to do with a lot of thoughtfulness in terms of UI design. Best of all, in the 10 years I have had it, I have never once lost a single piece of data on the system - never restored a backup either!

    It was also a blast to write code for.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:17PM (#9795981) Homepage Journal
    Now that the PDA market is in full swing, apple could get back into it and make some money.

    They created the market, if they only had the patience to stick it out :(

    You really cant replace a Newt with the dismal offerings of today. It was designed from the ground up as a handheld device, what we have today uses desktop OS's grafted onto a palm sized device...
    • While I appreciated the old newtons, the parent is blatantly wrong; Palm, Inc, in 1992, established some serious guidelines regarding what a PDA should and should not be, noting that it is definitely not a desktop replacement. This was formalized in 1996 with the Zen of Palm document. It was very much designed to be a handheld device; in fact, the Palm was a direct response to many of the newton complaints, ie size, input issues, and battery life.

      These days, on the Palm platform, it's a little more tri
      • by nurb432 (527695)
        I also had an early palm, ( mainly due to the form factor, 'on the road' the palm was easier to carry ) and thought the interface was clunky and a general pain in the butt. ( and no, im not basing that on the 'power' of the day, i realize speeds have increased radically over the years )

        Nothing can come close to matching the useablity of the Newton's UI...

        Its a real shame it went away.
  • The Netwon's OS... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Balthisar (649688) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:37PM (#9796096) Homepage
    ...is what made it a great thing. Okay, that statement's completely obvious, so why did I mention it?

    I bought my Newton 2100 just after they were discontinued. I loved it, but couldn't use it at work (factory at the time). My Palm V, and later two Sony Clie's (the second of which I still have and use) just fit in my pocket and did everything I needed them to do. Where they quite as elegant? No friggin way, but they fit into my pocket.

    Now were the Newton's OS to be put into a "modern" form factor, I think I'd be sold again. Just thinking about is makes me kind of miss it (although I guess I could say the same for my C=128).

    On the other hand, I'm kind of now in the ballpark of believers that the PDA-only market is not going to recover. It's going to be PDA/mobile phone combinations. The current line of such combo's is ugly (hey, I'm a geek but don't have to look like a nerd). My T616 is a good step, but it's missing about everything else that's not built-in to a Palm or Netwon.
  • by TellarHK (159748) <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [khrallet]> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @04:46PM (#9796144) Homepage Journal
    Last week I picked up a Tapwave Zodiac as a new PDA after having lusted after -some- form of small, useful PDA for years. I have a Newton 2100, but it's simply too large for my usual uses, and I never picked up the memory cards and wifi card to really make it useful around the house. Someday I still intend to do this, however. But what struck me as soon as I got the Zodiac home is how much the basic form factor of it resembled that of the almost ten-year-old Newton design. Two expansion slots at the top, large (comparatively) screen, flipcover for the LCD, and an emphasis on being able to be used in landscape mode.

    Aside from a few design flaws the Zodiac has in regards to the stylus location and a flipcover, it feels like a Newton in many respects - other than the OS. PalmOS really feels quite weak compared to what the NewtonOS can do, and I really wish that Palm had learned more from what Apple managed to do so many years ago. Screens now are creeping up on the level of pixel density really required for some good UI design, but the operating systems just aren't keeping up. Now, it's also a shame it's taking Palm six versions to get to multitasking.
  • by stecker (263711) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:09PM (#9796249) Homepage
    I've been a technology guy at two companies that, at least for a time, were very serious about building software for PDAs and other handheld devices. These days, all of the momentum has shifted to writing applications for phones.

    That said, I've had occasion to use at length every single Palm (including the newest Treos and Clies), Pocket PC, MagicCap device, etc.

    To this day, I keep a Newton MP2100 charged and ready to go behind my desk. Why? Meetings. The Newton's larger form factor makes it ideal for taking notes in meetings. Laptops are too distracting and unnatural, and anything with a smaller screen is too awkward. Further, the Newt's handwriting recognition makes note taking a natural task. Try graffiti for a lengthy set of detailed meeting notes, and you'll see what I mean.

    It helps that the user community has kept up with change. I use NewtSync to sync the notes I take on my Newton back to OS X. It also nicely copies my calendar, contacts, and to-do lists to my Newton.

    I must admit that I've ben eying an OQO, but with each passing day, its fixed specs are starting to seem less and less impressive, and I don't think I could see myself typing away at one during a meeting.
  • Steve Jobs recently stated that to get into the PDA area anymore would mean to get into the cell phone area, which he stated he doesn't think Apple would be good at doing.

    I think if Apple didn't make the hardware and just licensed the Newton OS they would do very well. Historically Apple has never made any money off of software, so this probably won't happen.

  • by TrojanHorse (701608) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:13PM (#9796267)
    Think about this... the original OS for the iPod was based on work from a company called Pixo, which was founded by...wait for it... a bunch of former Newton Group members. The extensability is there. All that is lacking is the support of the man who single-handedly quashed the spinoff of the Newton Group (nee Newton, Inc.) and told everyone to pack their desks. IIRC, the quarter in which the Newton was killed, there were only two profitable divisions within Apple, and NSG was one of them.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:23PM (#9796319) Homepage Journal
    Palm is probably going to win this market and another incompatible me-too product isn't going to be successful. Moreover the basic Palm technology is a 70 dollar Zire and all the other models are just bigger better Zires with a few extra features. Newton would have to compete on all those product axes simultaneously which of course is silly.
  • by MacFury (659201) <meNO@SPAMjohnkramlich.com> on Sunday July 25, 2004 @05:34PM (#9796374) Homepage
    The Newton 2100 was an awesome device when it was introduced. It still blows every other PDA away. If a color screen and USB connection were to replace it's grayscale and serial port...how much would it cost?

    I've been wondering that ever since I purchased my $300 palm Zire 71. The GUI is terrible compared to the Newton. I makes me sad.

    So, just how much would it cost to build the old newton at todays prices for screens, batteries, the strongARM CPU, etc. Could it compete with the PalmOS and PocketPC's on price point?

    • Porting newton to a modern processor, adding ram, adding modern IO (wifi/usb) and giving it some serious battery life would be a dream. I am not sure about color screen personally. If it impacts the battery run time i am against it.

      Sadly the PDA market is sketchy right now, the speak about 'convergence' with cellphones is liekly true. Apple cannot make a PDA only device.
  • Take: 1 Newton 2100 for handwriting 1 IPOD for Music and Storage 1 Zaurus SL-C860 for display, keyboard, Linux (Or FreeBsd/OsX) add Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 802.11g Full day battery(8 hrs) battery life with replacable, standard AA NiMH batteries Support and a vendor supported dev. community Stir Vigoriously, pour into a sub $600 package Sell hundreds of thousands of units!!!
  • by NewtonEatPalm! (515878) on Sunday July 25, 2004 @06:23PM (#9796606)
    I've always been a multi-platform user, and have always been able to properly deride and/or appreciate the various advantages and disadvantages each platform brings to the table.

    As most will agree, Apple hardware in particular has historically been introduced at higher retail price points. However, I've always been struck by the value inherent to Apple hardware as compared to other platforms. I usually build a new Windows based PC for gaming and administrative tasks every 2 years or so, costing anywhere from $700 - $1000 (I don't use pirated software. I use only name brand components), usually relegating said Windows box to serving using Linux or other serving tasks.

    My Newtons, while initially pricey, still play a vital role in my day-to-day business operations today, years later. (to this day, I still get many queries by curious onlookers wondering if this was a new piece of Apple hardware, and where they can get one...) In addition, I still use my first generation G4 Macs for content creation, video editing, and with some peripherals, DVD authoring. I paid upwards of $2,500 for the Macs in 1999, but they continue to serve me today, and I foresee utilizing them for at least another 2 years. This brings the cost of ownership down to Windows box levels, for what I feel are more elegantly designed, integrated machines.

    Much can be said about Apples choices in pricing and "chic" design, but I've always found the "now" factor and expense of Apple harware to bear out quite well in the long run. The Newton brought to the handheld market not only forward thinking innovation, but, I think, renewable sustainability.
  • Right now, there are a handful of devices that could preplace my eMate.

    I love the eMate, and the pre-iMac translucent color, but its too slow, and needs a grayscale screen. I do love the keyboard and long lasting battery life.

    Here is the lineup of eMate wannabes. The downside of all of them is that they use Win-duh-ohs.

    NEC (MobilePro 900c)

    Psion Teklogix (NetBook Pro)

    Zupera Technology (SmartBook) (China)

    Motorola (MPx Pocket Phone)

    HP (Jornada 728)

    However, HP may be coming out with a very eMate-like p
    • BTW, I am a writer, and there has never been a real 'writer's' computer, or portable.

      First there was the Remington, but that is ancient times.

      Then there was the Radio Shack 100, which was a real writer's tool. It even has rudimentary file back up to tape cassettes and the ability to modem your article over a voice phone (iffy).

      The eMate is the only close approximation to the writer's computer.

      The Dana is not bad, but still not in the same league as the eMate.

      As for laptops, IBM had the best keyboard, u
      • by bandy (99800)
        So maybe what you really want is a CrossPad with IBM's Ink Manager software. Ability to do HWR, instant-on, backups. You can even make drawings.
      • I just bought an eMate because I've been looking high and low for a way to make my MP2100 a "writer's computer". I looked at all the subnotebooks and PDAs and kept wishing I could just type on my Newt. The eMate is the near-perfect writer's computer. One additional benefit: no web access to distract you from getting some work done!! (Of course having dictionary.com and thesaurus.com on hand would be nice, but certainly not necessary.)

        Every time I think of the perfect "writer's computer", I think of the

  • The Newton! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "EAT UP MARTHA"

    Hahaha, Newtons!

    Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

  • Every time the Newt comes up in a /. discussion, many people slam it for its larger-than-palm-sized form factor(s). And I think they have a point, I believe a smaller Newton would have been a market success.

    Keep in mind, however, that the lack of a palm-sized Newt was at most a temporary situation. One of the great things about NewtOS and NewtonScript is that they were designed to support a practically unlimited variety of form factors. With some forethought and clever UI design, a single Newton app could
  • How long before someone sits down and tries to make an OSS OS version of whatever OS runs on newton? Sounds like a pretty interesting idea to me at least :)
  • by istewart (463887)
    I have a Newton MP100 that I got for $50 from a Goodwill. I was using it somewhat regularly (despite the primitive nature of the Newton 1.x OS) but then the screen broke. Where can I get a replacement screen?

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