A touch of nostalgia…the Dell Pocket PC

I’ve been switching back and forth between my HP TouchPad (running Android 2.3) and my iPad 2 this evening, and for some unknown reason, I started thinking about my old Dell Pocket PCs.

I fell in love with Dell somewhere in the early 2000s, after Gateway went out of business (but well after the “Dude, you’ve got a Dell” commercials).

At the time, the Pocket PC was the elite pocket computer…it had Wi-Fi, could play music and movies, and was available from at least two major vendors: HP and Dell.  My first Pocket PC was the Axim X30, and it was a great device.

I eventually upgraded to the Dell Axim X50v, which was a newer version of the X30.  Meanwhile, X5 models could be purchased very inexpensively on eBay, as the button placement on the device would cause the display to short out.  People would sell the devices for nothing, and all it required was a small piece of electrical tape to be placed over a small ribbon under the cover, and the device worked fine.  The X5 was also used in the TV series “Alias.”

I still remember purchasing a small Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (from Think Outside) and setting up shop in a coffee house near my hometown in December 2004.  The set-up looked something like this:

Dell abandoned the line in 2007, coinciding with the announcement and release of the iPhone in January and and June of 2007 (Dell has done this repeatedly with various product lines over time, which is yet another reason why I was open to switching to Apple products in 2008).  I chose to go without my Pocket PC at that time, as I was also tired of carrying multiple devices in my pockets (phone, Pocket PC, and any accessories).

In retrospect, I really liked those devices.  We used the Pocket PCs in school (I had rounded up seven X5s), much like I use our iPod Touches with my choirs today–however, the Pocket PC interface was much harder to use than an iOS device.  In comparison to the Pocket PC, all iOS devices (and Android devices, for that matter) are incredibly advanced.  Pocket PCs required a stylus–none of the modern mobile operating systems require a stylus (although some have an active digitizer in addition to capacitive digitizers).  All of the modern devices have more storage, faster processors, better user interfaces, and improved sound and graphics.

Even so, every now and then, I’d still like an X30 around to use, just as I’d also like to still have my 3rd and favorite motorcycle, the Honda Pacific Coast PC800.


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