The computer hardware hall of fame

From mainframes and minis to PCs and PDAs, our picks for the greatest, most enduring computer hardware of all time.

The computer hardware hall of fame prev next


US Robotics PalmPilot (1996)

The first broadly popular PDA, [[xref:|the PalmPilot|U.S. Robotics' PalmPilot Wins Hands Down]] arrived with a passive black-and-white LCD, either 128K or 512K of RAM, and a distinctive four-button layout dedicated to personal information management. The primary innovation was the Graffiti handwriting recognition system, which enabled users to enter (slightly modified) characters with a stylus directly on the LCD. A legal challenge forced Pilot to be dropped from the name, but over the years, a large ecosystem of inexpensive applications grew up around the Palm, helping it maintain long-running dominance in a fast-moving PDA market.

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