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The Apple Newton didn't last long, but it pushed the envelope in so many areas for mobile devices. The first device to offer true handwriting recognition, the Newton focused on intuitive input methods that competed with the constrained Graffiti input method used by Palm Pilots. The Newton was extensible with accessories such as modems and keyboards that turned the device into a full-fledged computer. There is an active Newton user community on the web even today, and the devices have even been hacked for Wi-Fi connectivity. You may have been impacted by the Newton handwriting recognition technology, as the team behind it went on to develop Evernote.
The E-125 was one of the first gadgets in Microsoft's Pocket PC product category, and it became a wildly popular PDA. The Casio was built like a tank and had features not found on any other product of its type at the time. The Casio E-125 would fit in a shirt pocket yet could handle a surprising spectrum of business tasks due to the rich support of the Microsoft Office platform.
Sony pushed the envelope with the first full Windows XP computer with the 5-inch screen, making the first truly handheld computer. The resistive touchscreen was the first on any Windows computer, and the inclusion of a dock and portable keyboard could turn the handheld into a laptop replacement in just a few seconds. My coverage of the U-71 detailed installing the Windows XP Tablet Edition on it, producing the first handheld Tablet PC. This coverage caught the eye of none other than Bill Gates, who made the then conceptual UMPC a mandate to the Microsoft team to get it to market, according to those in a position to know.