1984: Psion Organiser
Huge in the UK, the £99.95 Psion Organiser was marketed as "the world's first practical pocket computer," complete with a flat-file database and expandable EPROM Datapak storage -- but no operating system. The keyboard on the 5.5-x-3-x-1-inch device was odd: a 6-by-6 matrix of letters in alphabetical order, plus a few control keys (you'd press Shift to access the number keys).
By the time the second-generation Organiser II (shown here) rolled out two years later, it was widely deployed in retail and warehousing. Government agencies liked it too. The Organiser line later evolved into flip-open netbook-like computers such as 1997's acclaimed Series 5, which ran full software suites for up to 20 hours on two AA batteries.