History of PDAs - Part #3

History2 copy

OK, it's time for our third and last chapter of our guide: The History Of PDAs!

If you haven't read our first 2 parts you are invited to do so:

History of PDAs - Part #1

History of PDAs - Part #2

And now, for the finishing part of this guide!

So we've talked about Apple's innovation, which brought the first PDA with a touch screen and a stylus. Then we've mentioned Palm's rival which quickly became even more popular than the Newton, and then of course, came Microsoft with their own version of this thing called PDA.

Wait a minute...

I see a pattern here... don't you?

Apple's innovation... followed by Palm's alternative? And then... Microsoft? Could it be the history repeats itself in here as well?

Think about it. But meantime, let's continue from where we've stopped in the previous chapter - from the year 2000.

Yep, I remember this year as if it was yesterday. With the big "bug" of the year. Yep. Those were crazy days. Everything stopped working like all the experts said. I remember myself sitting in a dark garage. Lucky I got to put my hands on enough food to survive that month.

And then came aliens. Just like it says in the first chapter of the "terminator". But we've somehow managed to beat them all up but just when we felt safe again - came RIM...

2002: BlackBerry

bb RIM started with two way pagers, but in 2002 they released a smartphone with a lot of the PDAs capabilities, plus push emails, text messaging etc.

The smartphone becomes a big success but everyone thought it will just be a matter of time before Palm or Microsoft will burry this new kid in the block.

That didn't happen.

In fact, BlackBerry just became better every year and in the last couple of years RIM is considered to be a real smartphones leader.

Still 2002: PocketPC 2002

j540 After the first try did not work so well, Microsoft released their second version of PocketPC also called: PocketPC 2002.

Closer look at the user interface of PocketPC 2002 makes you wonder how did Microsoft do so little to change it in the past 7 years - it looks exactly the same as Windows Mobile 6.1! (click on the image to enlarge)


axim_x3i On famous model, running PocketPC 2002 was created in 2002 and this was no other than the Dell Axim. This attractive device stayed in the market for many years later and got a lot of hardware and software upgrades.


Dell discontinued the Axim in 2007.

2003: PalmOne:

palm-treo-650In the second part of the History of PDAs we've mention Palm's retiring executives that together founded Handspring Visor.

Four years layer, Handspring Visor merges back with Palm hardware division to form PalmOne. Under this brand they release the great Palm Treo PDAs and smartphones which later even included some WinMo based phones such as the Treo 750 (one of my favorites!) and Treo Pro.

It's important to say that after a few successful years, PalmOne started to become old and out-of-date. Palm was dying, slowly, but in 2009 something unexpected happened.

Still 2003: Windows Mobile is in the house!

Windows Mobile 2003, originally codenamed "Ozone", was released on June 23, 2003, and was the first PocketPC release under the Windows Mobile banner.

It came in four editions: "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Premium Edition", "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition", "Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone" and "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition".

The first 2 yeas were amazingly good and Windows Mobile devices managed to beat the competing devices form Palm.

But since then, Windows Mobile's market share (as an operating system for smartphones) worldwide has fallen from 23% in 2004 down to 12% in 2008. Windows Mobile now has a worldwide smartphone market share of 14%, not including the rugged PDAs etc.

htc-tytn-ii Nevertheless, Windows Mobile is one of the biggest mobile OS and has tons of resources over the web, forums, hacker, fans and one MobileSpoon.  

Amazingly, there are estimations that 80% of the 50 million Windows Mobile devices made so far, have been built by one contract manufacturing group, HTC, which makes handsets as for several major companies (like Palm and Sony Ericsson) under their brands, as well as under its own brand.

2007: iPhone Revolution Begins

iphone 15 years after Apple amazed the world with the first touch screen based PDA, the innovator company did it again with a finger only based capacitive screen, supporting multi-touch and automatic rotation using a built-in accelerometer.

Indeed, the iPhone was an amazing innovation, but it missed some important elements like GPS, MMS and more. Things which were fixed in the next versions of the phone.

The development of the iPhone began as a secretive and unprecedented collaboration with AT&T Mobility (Cingular Wireless at the time) —at an estimated development cost of $150 million over 30 months.

Still 2007: Google Android:

The Android development began around July 2005 when Google acquired Android, Inc. a small startup company based in California.

At Google, the Android team developed a mobile OS powered by the Linux operating system.


The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 48 hardware, software, and telecom companies (Broadcom Corporation, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology Group, Motorola, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Texas Instruments) devoted to advancing open source and open standards for mobile devices.

Google released most of the Android code under the Apache license, a free-software and open source license.

Although version 1.0 was released during 2008, Android has managed to already become very popular in the US and was one of the 5 most successful smartphones in Q1 2009.

In April 2009, the official 1.5 update for Android was released. There will be around 20 new devices this year, all running the Android OS.


iphone_blackberry_ufc fight2

Steping into the present, there's a lot of activity going on.

Palm Pre was released, with a lot of buzz around the new WebOS. Google's Android 1.5 was released as well, and of course iPhone 3GS. BlackBerry continues to succeed with new great devices and of course, Microsoft did not say the last word just yet, and released version 6.5 and is still working on Windows Mobile 7.

The mobile world is a jungle, and it's fun watching...

That's it for the third and final part of the History of PDAs.

Hope you enjoyed the read. See you all in 2020 with the next episode of the guide!

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