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.

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US Robotics PalmPilot (1996)



The first broadly popular PDA, the PalmPilot 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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