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1989 — Poqet PC
When you think of pocket PC, you normally think of Microsoft's early PDA efforts, but this one from the Poqet Computer Corporation appeared in 1989 and brought power to the handheld category. It did so by running MS-DOS on a tiny clamshell device that could run 10 to 100 hours on two AA batteries. This was accomplished by aggressive power management techniques employed by Poquet.
Fujitsu bought Poqet and released one advanced model, the Poqet PC Plus, with more memory, I/O capability, and PCMCIA card expansion. Unfortunately, this model was bigger and weighed almost two pounds, and it was expensive, so it never went anywhere.
1991 — HP 95LX pocket computer
In 1991, HP introduced a pocket computer aimed squarely at the enterprise worker. The HP 95LX was similar to the Poqet PC in that it also ran MS-DOS, but HP included software in ROM that turned the 95LX into a business tool.
Most significantly, HP included the main spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3 (thus the Lotus Expandable LX designation) in ROM, producing a full spreadsheet computer that fit in a pocket. There was also a financial calculator, PIM software, and other goodies embedded in ROM, making the HP 95LX a true busines powerhouse.
Like the Poqet, the HP 95LX was a full DOS PC and could be programmed by the user. HP continued to produce upgraded models for a few years before retiring the product line.
1993 — HP Omnibook
While it seems HP has lost its way recently, it was producing a constant stream of innovative products in years past. The HP Omnibook was as innovative as anything HP produced during its advanced mobile phase.
The Omnibook was a sub-notebook that brought Microsoft Windows to a small laptop form. It had lots of memory compared to other offerings at the time, and even had two PCMCIA slots for both memory and peripheral expansion. There was an internal dial-up modem in the Omnibook, turning it into a full work system. Microsoft Word and Excel were both preloaded in ROM on the system.
Perhaps most uniquely, the Omnibook had a small plastic mouse that popped out of the side of the laptop (pictured above) that was tethered to the device by a plastic bar. The mouse was pulled out for use and then pushed back in the notebook's side for transport.