The original inventors of the Palm Pilot, who founded Palm, Inc. were Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, and Ed Colligan.
Before starting development of the Palm, Hawkins is said to have carried a block of wood, the size of the potential pilot, in his pocket for a week.
Because Palm, Inc. was a subsidiary of 3Com, the group of founders became upset that they did not have enough control over the Palm product. As a result, they broke off from Palm and founded Handspring in June 1998, which produced the Handspring Visor, a clone of the Palm Pilot that used a modified version of the Palm OS.
Palm Pilot was the name given to several early models of personal digital assistant manufactured by Palm, Inc. (when it was a subsidiary of U.S. Robotics or 3Com). More recent models of PDA manufactured by Palm are not named Pilots due to name infringement lawsuits brought on by the Pilot pen corporation, but "Palm Pilot" has entered the vernacular as a synonym for PDA, sometimes regardless of whether a device is manufactured by Palm or runs the Palm OS.
Palm Pilots ran on the popular dragonball processors, a Motorola 68000 derivate. Newer ones run on a ARM, a RISC microprocessor that is widely used in mobile devices and embedded systems.
when i first heard of the palmpilot, i wasn't thrilled at the stylus method of inputting data. i was very happy with my 1 meg HP200LX that was given to me as a gift at work. when i lost it a year and a half later, i needed an immediate replacement. the userbase was large enough so that there was a lot of good free software on the platform, and the inputting problem was resolved with a nice portable keyboard... i bought a Palm III in August 1998 and it's still going strong. the Handspring is tempting, and so is the Clie (due to the use of the memory stick, which would be useful as i have a Sony DV Camcorder), but i still have not had a need to upgrade. it's running 2 megs of memory, no expansion slot, and i mainly use it to jot down notes when my laptop is inaccesible. it acts as a vessel for a lot of memos and notes that i need, mostly for inventory of music, books, and movies. i'm down to my last 200 megs of space so eventually i will need to upgrade, but the platform has been going strong for almost four years and shows no sign of gong away...
my personal history of PDA's started off in 1993 with a Sharp organizer. 128k memory. i was hooked. my thumb typing on small keyboards was about 35wpm, and when i got my HP200LX, it was even faster (nice hard click keyboard). the graffiti on the Palm is adequate by i still use the GoType! Keyboard, albeit a bit small, you can still touch type.
bizarre modelling schemes: Palmpilot 500, Palm III, Palm V, Palm VII, Palm IIIC, M505, etc etc...
- @Om* 4/1/01
RIP palm III late 1999 to 5/9/01
digitizer (screen) doesn't respond to any taps. other than that and a ton of scratches, it lasted a decent length of time. 2 years 9 months, 2 units, and $450 (august 1998)...
the new unit - m105 @ $165 open box item - is much lighter, much more plasticy and looks more like a woman's compact rather than a star trek communicator, but it'll do. it's nice and black, and has several key programs integrated like a glance/clock, and sketchpad... data loss was not an issue as i simply hotsynced... a much easier transition than the last time from hp200lx - a total nightmare of data loss... - @Om* 5/9/01
for summer solstice (now in the southern hemisphere) 2003, a friend gave me an old model Clie, which isn't the latest and greatest, but certainly beats the tar out of the m105 i've been wearing out the last 4 years. no more worries about replacing batteries, it's color, it's got twice the memory, and it uses a memory stick which is compatible with my sony cam. - @Om* 1/13/04
a real kit you can order for $300 to turn your palm into
a robot. only a screwdriver is required...