Monday, Oct. 25, 2010

Psion MC 400

Released in 1989, the MC400 was Psion's answer to overpriced, barely portable laptops. Smaller and lighter than the competition, what the MC400 — which was essentially an organizer — lacked in functionality it made up for in portability. And while it couldn't do as much as a PC, the MC400 did have a lot going for it: a multitasking OS with a graphical user interface called EPOC, a full-sized keyboard with touch pad, hot swappable memory, up to 60 hours of battery life, and slots for adding a modem, fax, barcode scanner, or voice recorder. A high price (it initially sold in the UK for £845) and lack of compatibility with PCs kept buyers away, with Psion struggling for another 12 years before calling it quits. EPOC, however, survived and became the basis for the Symbian OS found in Nokia phones.

Rojas and Block are the founders of gdgt, a social gadget site helping users get better answers and product reviews.