Unreadable dark screen — A Winner!

Ten-year-old Apple Newton beats latest Windows UMPC – Crave at CNET.co.uk _ And people accuse me of trolling? This hopeless article, if tongue-in-cheek, is genius. But if it’s actually serious, as some suspect, then it’s downright loony.

Apple launched the Newton over ten years ago, but it failed to capture the public’s imagination and was ultimately discontinued. Many critics held the view that the Newton failed, not because it was a badly designed product, but because it was simply ahead of its time — a market for ultra-mobile computers simply didn’t exist back then.

A decade on and it seems we’ve learnt little about mobile computer design. Apple’s Newton trumped Samsung’s offering with two knockout punches in our head-to-head battle.

“The Newton has no known viruses, while the Q1, which runs Windows, has around 60,000. ”

“There’s also a built-in dual-mode infrared transceiver for wireless data transfer at up to 115Kbps (IrDA mode) and 38.4Kbps (ASK mode) within 1m. It might not be as fast or long-range as Bluetooth, but it’s much less buggy.”

“The Samsung costs £799, but you can pick up a Newton on eBay for £50.”

“Although the Q1 won more points, the Newton was declared the overall winner of the battle.”

found by Wil Harris

  1. Dave M. says:

    Yeah, the fact that the “knockout punch” was battery life and price is just ridiculous! Lets see, a device that powers a back-lit color LCD display compared to a device that powers a non-back-lit black and white display…

    Then they compare price, 800 British pounds (isn’t that close to $1400) compared to 50 British pounds (around $80) on eBay. OK, what did the Newton cost in 1997, then lets adjust for the value of the dollar back in 1997.

    That article was such a waste of time and bits!

  2. Higghawker says:

    Nuff Said: Unlike the Windows-based Q1, the Newton runs a rock-solid OS. Few users have seen what the Newton OS looks like when it’s crashed. Plausibly, an application could bring the system down, but it’s rare. Obviously the Newton has the advantage here because it’s dealing with a whole lot less legacy code than the Samsung.

  3. BHK says:

    I often find myself missing the halcyon days of the Timex Sinclair 1000 and the Commodore Pet. Now those machines beat anything we have today!

  4. ECA says:

    YEP…and the amount of games released to the C64 was outragious.
    Only thing that beat it was when Neo-Gro came out. And havent seen anything better SENCE.

  5. Me says:

    I loved the quote:

    The Newton operating system was coded from scratch in C++. Apple honed the OS to squeeze every last drop of computing power out of the StrongARM processor.

    Is it me or does this seem like two conflicting statements?

    What did he think Windows was written in, Pascal?

  6. Smartalix says:

    I once owned the Atari Portfolio, it was a pretty good pocket computer (IBM AT equivalent).

  7. Ivor Biggun says:

    I miss the elegant and intuitive way the Newton worked for me. Newton was buiilt from the ground up as a handheld OS. Microsoft tries to cram windoze into everything without making many changes at all. Look at windoze tablet edition. It’s not really made for a tablet, now, is it?

    Remember, Apple received numerous offers to purchase the Newton OS/Handwriting recognition, but refused. Would they do that if they weren’t planning to use it?

    I only hope Stevie decides to come to his senses and bring back the Newton in some new form. Maybe the iPhone is gong to be it? (Crossing fingers)

  8. Matthew Rigdon says:

    I don’t see what’s conflicting. Coding in C++ and squeezing every last ounce of power out of a processor are the goals of every team when writing a custom OS. Are you implying that C++ can’t write fast code?

    As far as what Windows runs in, I think the point that was trying to be made is that Windows is full of all sorts of legacy code, left in to work around bugs that plagued (for example) the Windows versions of 123 when it came out. All that code has to be run, even if the bug has been fixed in the software.

    Check around for some of the Microsoft blogs when Vista was first going. There was nearly an internal war at Microsoft over legacy support versus starting over. I think the wrong side won.

  9. Mike Drips says:

    The Apple Newton will not run WoW.
    My Nokia 770 will not run WoW.
    My Samsung Q1 does run WoW.
    It’s all about applications.

  10. Joao says:

    Apples to Oranges

  11. kballweg says:

    Actually I’m sorry I sold my 2100. However, the truth is, basic computing in a form factor that wasn’t all that convienent for it’s original design purpose (being a PDA) was a key part of why Palm (along with Steve) buried the Newt. Even though I enjoyed it for years, it would now just sit in the closet with my Classic and original Bondi iMac.

    Truest test of a machine is the question “Is it useful?” The Newt was useful and very innovative, but not totally for what it was designed for. If you wanted a PDA, not so good. If you wanted a very portable computer, much better than it gets credit for.

    Hopefully folks who buy UMPCs will get a similar level of “usefulness” for their buck.

  12. MSwanberg says:

    >>“The Newton has no known viruses, while the Q1, which runs Windows, has around 60,000. ”

  13. Angel H. Wong says:

    This is the classic “This crappy piece of Apple hardware is always better than the latest Windows Machine.”

  14. Me says:


    As an embedded programmer, I believe the consensus is that C++ will produce bigger/slower code than C and C will produce bigger, slower code than Assembly.

    If they wrote it in Assembly I would have been impressed. C++ leads to bloat.

    Not as bad as something like Java, but still, its not something to brag about.

  15. OmarTheAlien says:

    In my non-programmer mind I sometimes wonder if we would have been better off reserving the GUI for applications and leaving the O/S strickly command line.

  16. Max says:

    Drink the Kool-Aid! DRINK IT!

  17. mama950 says:

    What you really can say is that the Newton was an utterly satisfying machine to use; crisp and clear sounds and graphics that reacted so directly… and fast.

    Can no-one remember how good the handwriting recognition actually was? How revolutionary?

    The let-down for me was no word processor; even though there were hundreds of developers at that stage.

    Steve Jobs that dipstick is still to adequately replace the Newton and that neat little OS.


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