The HP Slate’s Future Lies Within The PDA’s History

Remember the Sony Clie PDA line? Yeah, the big flip-style ones. These were the HP Slates of the first half of the decade. Let me explain.

PDAs were the hot gadget item before smartphones. They instantly earned the owner geek credibility points and models were coming from nearly every manufacturer between 2000 and 2004. HP had the Jornada, and later the iPAQ after buying Compaq. There was the Dell Axim, the Linux-powered Sharp Zaurus, and of course the top-dog Palm Pilots.

Sony picked up on the trend and outed the Clie line that went toe-to-toe with Palm. These PDAs started out pretty much as premium Palm alternatives. They were more solid, came with a rich multimedia suite built into the Palm OS, but of course commanded a higher price. Over time Sony evolved the form factor while sticking with the Palm OS, although they hid the core OS with their own skin developed to better match the natural hardware controls.

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