What happens when you collide a PalmPilot and a portable computer à la TSR-80 Model 100? The Dana of course! This experiment was attempted in 2002 by AlphaSmart. On the paper, this hybrid is quite convincing. A backlit LCD touch-screen with a resolution of 560 x 160 pixels & 16 levels of grey and a full-sized keyboard are the main selling points. Note that the screen can be used in portrait or landscape mode! The size of the beast is reasonable (4.8 cm × 31.5 cm × 23.6 cm) and weighs less than a kilogram. The rest is to par: 16 MB of RAM, 4 MB of ROM, a Dragonball VZ processor paced at 33 MHz. On the communications side, the Dana has two SD card readers, an infrared interface (IrDA), two USB ports. The Wireless Dana released a year later, has a Wi-Fi interface as well which allows you to browse the Web. The Dana is powered by a Ni-MH battery or three AA batteries for the autonomy of up to 25 hours. On top of Palm OS 4.1, the usual suspects are present: Memo Pad, Datebook, Todo, Address Book, and a few system-related setup applications (communications, fonts, Graffiti 2, etc.). But the jewel of the crown is the Alphawrite word processor by Wordsmith. This version has been customized to Dana’s wider screen (~4x of the PalmPilot). This is important to highlight since at first glance, one can question the poor use of the screen real estate by the applications. I’ve added few pictures with the PalmPilot as reference. The main issue to me with Dana is the lack of programming capabilities.
4 thoughts on “Palm OS On Steroids”
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Ah, yes! We had a number of the older AlphaSmarts where I work. They can be used as a USB keyboard — I find them very comfortable to type on.
Eph Zero that’s an interesting use model I was not aware of.
Jamel Tayeb I don’t think anyone is aware of it. 🙂