A netbook ahead of it’s time

Psion Netbook (left) and EEE PC (right)
I had assumed that “netbook” was a recent term that grew out of the evolution of UMPCs, MIDs, origami and EEE PC clones. And in my defence, the wikipedia article for “Netbook” says:

The term netbook was introduced by Intel in February 2008 to describe a category of small-sized, low-cost, light weight, lean function subnotebooks optimized for Internet access and core computing functions

I didn’t realise that the term has been around for a while though, until I came across an eight or nine year old bit of mobile tech history in Roo’s old office – a Psion Netbook.

Netbooks: Then and nowI’ve had a couple of Psions before (a Siena and a Series 5), but I’d never heard of the Netbook before.

It’s a similar size to my EEE PC, although a little heavier. It has a decent-sized keyboard, a 7.7″ 640×480 colour backlit screen, Opera 3.62 (with support for HTML 3.2), a Java 1.1.8 runtime, and a bunch of PIM-type apps. No bluetooth or WiFi, but it does have RS232 and infrared.

I’ve got no idea what is gonna happen to it – I will ask if I can have it, although to be honest this is largely for geek nostalgia, as I’m not sure what I’d practically do with it. 🙂

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4 Responses to “A netbook ahead of it’s time”

  1. Roo says:

    Geek nostalgia was why I held on to it for so long too. When I first got it (for testing MQe on Psion I think) it was new and sexy, and as you say it maintains its appeal remarkably well. The keyboard is excellent, and the full VGA screen is not to be sniffed at.

    You can get Wifi via the PC Card expansion slot (I think it was Andy SC who let me borrow a Cisco 802.11a/b card when I took it to a conference many years ago, which may have been the first time I met him!). I used it during Extreme Blue as a convenient keyboard+screen for talking with Ben, since my BSL signing was (and is) woefully weak.

    You should ask Jon Butts (to whom I transferred the device before I left) to pass it on to you. Begin a collection. 🙂

  2. ben says:

    indeed, Roo! i remember the last time i saw this put to a good use was at a customer visit, where we had to remain standing, to take notes in their hardware room – it was easy to take notes using one hand, and the other hand holding the netbook. not sure i can do this with a laptop.

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