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Guess the Device: A Different Kind of Personal Assistant

by Brandon Russell | March 22, 2014March 22, 2014 12:30 pm PST

Doing research on this device, it’s shocking to see how far we’ve come in so little time. Here are some of the specs I’m seeing: 16MHz processor, 2MB of RAM, almost an inch thick. It also sports a screen cover, stylus and a plastic display instead of glass. The device was marketed as a digital assistant, which is far different from the digital assistants we have today (Siri, Google Now). I’m sure for the time the design was considered beautiful, too. But it looks absolutely atrocious compared to what’s available now. A lot can change in fourteen years, that’s for sure.

I have no real concept of what it was like using a device this old. I’ve had my fair share of dumb phone clamshell devices. But personal digital assistants were devices only company executives used. In the year 2000, when this devices was popular, I was barely a freshman in high school, so I obviously had no need for such a device. I would have been a pretty cool freshman, however. The crazy thing about this device, which I discovered while taking pictures of it, is that it runs on standard dry cell batteries (AAA). Imagine a device today running on three AAA batteries. It’s like a toy or something.

Thank Roy for bringing this one in. I don’t know where he got it, or why he still has it. Maybe in his past life before joining the Herd he was a big shot CEO. In any case, searching around the Web right now, I’m still seeing some of these for sale. I suppose if you hate smartphones and want to torture yourself, you can spend about $50 to experience what it was like before the dawn of smartphones. I can’t even fathom a handheld with 2MB of internal memory. That’s less than a picture these days.

Last week’s Guess the Device was the Nintendo 64.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.