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Lessons of the Palm Pilot

I loved my Palm Pilot; it was the supplemental brain I’d been waiting for since 5th grade. It was easy to use, and as the years passed it got easier and easier (Wireless service! Longer battery life! Smaller charging/sync docks!). I still miss Graffiti handwriting recognition, though Swype manages the worst of the pain. Amid all the whiz-bang of contemporary smartphones, some of it good, much of it annoying, I think it behooves a mobile designer to glance back at this early device and remember its lessons of simplicity and clarity of purpose.

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, you can read The Zen of Palm, a 13-year-old document about the design principles underlying the Palm PDA devices, and it holds very true even now. Plus, it’s a fun read, with pictures and riddles!

The Zen of Palm

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