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Few mobile devices have generated such a fanatical user base as the Apple Newton, arguably one of the most advanced PDAs of its time. The Newton MessagePad 2100 I used years ago was one of the most productive PDAs I’ve ever owned and that covers a […]

Newton2000Few mobile devices have generated such a fanatical user base as the Apple Newton, arguably one of the most advanced PDAs of its time. The Newton MessagePad 2100 I used years ago was one of the most productive PDAs I’ve ever owned and that covers a LOT of ground. The Newton only had two real problems- it was as big as a brick and Apple cancelled production. I still think had Apple continued development of the Newton they would have the most advanced PDA today.Newtons were not only cool and productive but they were sturdy. There are an estimated 20,000 people still using them today, and there are global conferences for Newton owners even now. The Worldwide Newton Conference 2004 was recently held and a presentation at that conference has Newton owners chomping at the bit. A developer and Newton enthusiast, Paul Guyot, revealed a project to emulate the Newton OS and applications on Unix system. Dubbed the Einstein Project, the goal is to replicate the Newton on current Linux based PDAs such as the Sharp Zaurus. I have to admit this would be very cool. You can still find working Newtons on eBay which is a testament to the philosophy behind the interface of the Newton and a version running on today’s hardware would be amazing. Let’s face it, the fact the Newton was cancelled in 1998 and they are still having a world-wide conference for users should tell us something.(Slashdot via World Wide Newton Conference)

By James Kendrick

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  2. What an exciting prospect!

    I remember going from the MessagePad 130 to the 2100. The most compelling thing about the 2100 was that it appeared to be about ten times faster than the 130, so the 130 went back in its box.

    Just a year ago I got an iPaq to compliment the 2100; the idea was that I’d use the Pocket PC as an ebook reader (I’m totally hooked on cleartype). The Pocket PC seemed ten times faster than the 2100 — combine that with the color screen and almost seamless synchronization with a PC and the 2100 went back into its box too.

    I do charge it up every couple of weeks though. The other day I spent an hour or so with the 2100, seeing if there was any more info I wanted to transfer over. It seemed painfully slow, and the display was SO dark. But the layout of the interface is still awesome, and the way the notepad can be so easily utilized as a “thought gathering” medium can’t be beat.

    It struck me then that if the Newton OS were available in a snappy new color PDA (and it included the obligatory enhancements from Standalone (http://www.standalone.com) and FiveSpeed (http://www.fivespeed.com)), AND they gave more than lip service to all us Microsoft users regarding synching, then I’d get one in a heartbeat.

    …A brilliantly fast color, cleartype, transcriber equiped Newton. That would be perfect.

    Regards,
    Andrew

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  3. Yes, a revived and updated Newton would be absolutely wonderful. My daughter still has my MP2100 somewhere and she tells me it still turns on and runs when she tries it.

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  4. Well, I really don’t think Apple will have a PDA within the near future, and it will never be called the “Newton” for internal reasons… But it seems the Newton Community has been slowly growing we (Macs R Us Computers- macsruscomputers.com) have noticed that we have sold more of the later MP 2X00 series within in the past 2-3 years then ever before… It sure does seem to have a cult like following to support the Palm Switcher:)

    ~Mark Jozaitis

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