---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs

Newton 2100

Apple had promised an upgrade to Newton to extend NIE (Newton Internet Enabler) to support network cards, all due for September. The spin off and reabsorbtion of Newton Inc may have interfered with these plans, but stories are now circulating of a new MessagePad device, provisionally called the MessagePad 2100, to be released this year. The operating system will have extensions for network card support, with greatly expanded RAM, 4Mb DRAM over 1Mb in the MP2000, and possibly even an onboard modem. The software suite will also be upgraded, with the NetHopper web browser now due to support frames, tables, sounds, animated GIFs and ftp.

It would seem that the planned upgrades to the Internet suite wouldn't work properly in the RAM of the MP2000, just as the MP120 wasn't big enough to support the initial NIE. So Newton Inc bit the bullet and expanded the MessagePad to allow it to compete on Internet facilities with the extensions promised for Windows CE 2.0. If this software is built in to both the eMate (which should have a faster processor in the near future, bringing it up to MP2000 speeds) and the MP2000, Apple will have both a true PDA (the MessagePad) and a reasonably sized and powered clam shell design, with facilities on a par with the new Windows CE handheld PCs. The Apple designs suffer from being much larger, but are better integrated designs. The software is better designed for the purpose of PDA use, but Apple now face the challenge of turning that into a sales edge over the Microsoft CE steamroller. The big missed opportunities for Newton are speech recognition, a victim of insufficient memory, and Java support, which should be in Windows CE 2.0.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: October 7, 1997

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