What It Was: A mini–clamshell PC that ran Windows CE (as well as Handheld PC Professional Edition 3.0) and utilized a touchpad for desktop navigation. It featured a 640 x 480 display, and under the hood ran a 190-MHz Intel StrongArm RISC CPU, 16MB of RAM, and 16MB of ROM. It also boasted a lengthy battery life of 10 hours. As the operating system was stored in ROM, this machine also turned on instantly—no Splashtop required.
Why It Failed: The Jornada 820 lacked high-speed Internet connectivity, instead featuring “dial-up e-mail and graphical web browsing.” And because this device didn’t run full Windows, it wasn’t compatible with many popular programs. All information was stored in ROM, which meant that if the main and backup battery lost power, all information was lost. Fortunately, a CompactFlash slot was available to store vital data.
Why It Was Important: Think of it as a very early netbook. ASUS would introduce the Eee PC 701 nearly a decade later, a small computer with a 7-inch screen, 900-MHz Intel Celeron M ULV 353 processor, 512MB of RAM, a scant 4GB of solid state storage, and—most important—Wi-Fi for web connectivity. Linux was the OS of choice at first, but this soon gave way to Windows XP.
Current Chance of Technology’s Success: Definite. Netbooks, such as the Dell Inspiron Mini 10, continue to be the fastest growing PC segment. According to data culled by DisplaySearch, netbook makers are expected to move 39.7 million units in this year to the tune of $11.4 billion in revenue.
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