First Personal Digital Assistant | Techday, May 29th
On this TECHDAY in history, on May 29th 1992, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Apple CEO John Sculley announces the coming release of their Newton MessagePad personal digital assistant. The Newton, which was considered innovative at its debut, suffered from a high price and problems with handwriting recognition, its most anticipated feature.
This device never gained much commercial success and, shortly after his return, Steve Jobs discontinued it in 1998. Despite that, Jobs saw potential in the technology even though the execution was not good enough. Apple was able to create its multi-touch devices (iPhone, iPad) by taking inspiration from FingerWorks.
Another major reason why the Newton was the lack of effective handwriting recognition technology. It had also ambitious goals and proved still too early for consumers to adopt the PDA widely. It was also criticized for its lack of connectivity, as it did not have the ability to connect to the internet or to other computers.
Despite its shortcomings, the Newton MessagePad was an important milestone in the development of personal digital assistants and mobile computing. It demonstrated the potential of these types of devices and paved the way for the development of more advanced and successful products. Today, we have smartphones which are now more advanced version of PDAs with the integration of internet connectivity and more powerful processors, and those have become an integral part of our daily life.
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