the iPhone changed everything; it allowed access to the "normal" web, radically altered app distribution, and radically altered UX metaphors and interaction; popularizing the category
PDAs and smartphones built like them were more desktop like UI-wise. of them, winmo tried to do everything and felt like using desktop windows; palm os was much simpler but aged badly into the smartphone era
not sure what eink devices could learn
Basically, Palm OS was trying to bridge the gap between fixed function organizers, and the early 1990s PDAs (that tried to do too much for their hardware, and were too bulky). Emphasis there was on quick access to the data you needed, and part of the philosophy was that it shouldn't do too much - if you wanted to do heavy tasks, bring your laptop.
@calvin @bthall @nev @staticsafe The iPhone definitely didn't exactly follow that - Safari supporting the full web seamlessly was seen as revolutionary (there were attempts with Opera Mobile, primarily on Windows Mobile, but it was clunkier).
But, especially early on, Apple did follow some parts of the philosophy - don't multitask, make programs launch fast. Don't do too much (I mean, early on, they didn't even have copy and paste), just do what's needed for a phone.
@bthall @nev @staticsafe The UI changes that @calvin talked about, quite frankly, were largely because of a technology shift from resistive touch (which measured pressure) to capacitive touch (which measured skin contact).
Resistive displays were often used with a stylus (which could produce a very small point of pressure on the display), so UI element spacing tended to be similar to desktop UIs at the time.
@bthall @nev @staticsafe @calvin The trend towards more whitespace in UIs (not just mobile, but you're seeing it in web and desktop UIs) is a manifestation of what mobile devices nowadays require, though.
Capacitive displays are used with relatively large fingertips, and therefore require wide spacing between UI elements, to be able to easily select one.
@bthall I know you didn't ask me, but would you be interested in my answer to this question?
(I'm trying to find a balance between offering unsolicited advice and skipping conversations in which I would be welcome. I think this kind of a question is necessary for those grey areas.)
@ajroach42 Yes 😊
I used a PDA as my primary secondary device for ~6 years?
I had a Palm Tungsten e2, which was a midrange device with a low resolution square screen, graffiti input, and an SD card slot.
It did some things very well (ebooks, offline web pages, music, slideshows, games) and some things okay (wireless communication with compatible devices over short range point-to-point connections)
And some things very badly (anything involving live internet)
@bthall It also worked well as a word processor, and even an email device, provided you added a keyboard.
It placed access to data as it's primary task, and did not provide much by way of multitasking.
It was not a communications device. It was a content consumption and creation device. That it could do any communication was a side effect of it's other purposes.
@bthall I loved my palm, and I used it until it broke, and then got another one and used it until it broke.
It was a very different experience compared to modern computers and smartphones, which put communication before anything else including access to data.
I don't think that there are many lessons a modern eink device could learn here, because a modern device would almost certainly be a networked device, would almost certainly be a communication terminal.
@bthall OTOH, if you are looking for inspiration for an offline, non-networked (or not networked by default) device, it might be worth playing with a late generation palmOS slate for a few hours.
Alternately, I found that the HP LX line (specifically the 200LX) came the closest to bridging the gap between PDA and computer out of the devices I used.
@bthall I used a 200LX as a regular part of my daily workflow for ~7 years (there was some overlap with the palm, and it was acquiring the LX which led me to stop replacing the e2 when my last one broke.)
It was a DOS device with a custom graphical environment, and a 4 color grey scale, CGA monitor.
It was just a touch bigger than actually pocket sized, but not too bad. About the size of a DS.
I loved mine, and would still use it if 1) I could find it and 2) it wasn't fragile with age.
@bthall I've heard that the psion 5 series was also wonderful. I haven't used any of the psion line, although I recently ordered it's spiritual successor, which I hope to receive soon.
Eventually, I'll probably grab an mx5 for comparison.
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