For those of you who did not experience the Psion PDAs, you maybe think that those of us who bang on and on about them are just wishing to go back in time in a rose coloured time machine.
We are, sort of.
It was a time when there were few computing products in the market and when few people even owned computers, but this object appeared that was not hugely expensive and which could do many different things.
I won’t go into detail here because I have covered it many times before, but the reason the Gemini PDA struck a chord with some of us was because of how the Psions worked and why they still feel fresh today.
The apps worked with each other and in some cases provided productive flexibility that no portable device has since. The calendar and contacts apps were fantastic and helped me a great deal in the early 90’s, and ultimately drew me into the world of mobile technology. With the ability to add new apps and game (in my case by posting a memory card to Steve Litchfield for him to install them) and an ease of use that showed how much care has been put in to the OS, it felt like the future had arrived, it truly did.
However, it was the reliability and practicality that did it for me. A month of battery from 2 AA batteries was seriously impressive, the way the hinge mechanism worked was even more so and the sheer reliability of the hardware and software have only been matched by what I see in newer iPhones.
There were problems of course (ribbon cables), but those of us who really want to see a device like this re-appear are not doing so purely on sentiment. We are doing so because the Psions offered an experience that has never been replicated in any mobile product since, and it was an experience which with some tweaks would not feel out of place 2 decades later.