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    The newton’s handwriting recognition was legendary - how did they do that with 640k/150k RM and 4 Mb of ROM? That technology needs to be brought back to life and used in modern devices.

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      OneNote will probably be the closest you’ll see today. The problem is most devices don’t have pen input and the fact everyone is used to keyboards anyways.

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        The newton’s handwriting recognition was legendary

        I had a rare chance to see and try out (a bit) a Newton, soon after they first came out. Happened because a friend who worked at a hardware dealer brought one over to our office when he came to meet some of us. I remember that some of the features were amazing, though cannot remember too well what they were now.

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        Battery life on devices is infuriating, a device that can last for weeks sounds like heaven.

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          I find myself thinking that if my kindle (non-fire) had an email client and decent web browser (which would necessitate a better screen refresh rate), I’d ditch my phone.

          My Droid turbo lasts about two days most of the time, but my kindle lasts for literally weeks. I came back from a two week vacation without charging my kindle, picked it up and started reading without issues. If I could do that with my phone or – even better – my laptop, I would be very very happy.

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            The kindle doesn’t even have to refresh the whole screen it can flip parts of the screen. I’d love to have a e-ink ssh terminal.

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              I bought something along these lines last year - a device called an Onyx Boox i86 which has access to the Play Store, supports Bluetooth keyboards, has a button to switch into eink’s A2 refresh mode for temporary smooth scrolling, etc.

              The device isn’t perfect (has a small battery when using wifi/scrolling, shipped with an old Android version (but is now updated)). I haven’t been actively using it but these comments are making me think about trying to make it my primary device for a week.

              If yer curious about this stuff I’d check out the mobileread.com forums which seems to be the most active community of eink ereader power users.

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                Oh yeah. Something like this + keyboard and battery would be a dream device for working on a beach.

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                I’m not sure you’d get the same battery in that case though. You’d actually be using the wifi and CPU instead of letting them idle. The screen on most devices certainly uses quite a bit of power, but not all of it.

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                I still use feature phones for exactly this reason. Smart phones are for kids.

                I always have to laugh when people compare their smartphones' speed to old mainframes. You know what they also have in common? Being useless a useless brick when not near a power outlet.

                PS: The Nokia 100/200 are pretty great. 3-4 weeks without charging.

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                  Do you use a separate device for IM, GPS, browsing, etc? Just curious

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                    No.

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                    That’s actually a good point. I guess the reason the smartphone makers don’t try for better battery life is because not enough people complain or walk away from their products. Wouldn’t be surprised if the scene changed pretty fast if people actually voted with their feet.

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                    I wonder how much it would cost to build a mono-functionality device like this today.

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                      It’s not even monofunctionality, IMHO (workflow and UI is one side of his equation though) - it’s the fact we have giant backlit colour screens and massive cores. Put a super-low power SoC/CPU and a nice ePaper screen and you have a general purpose computer running whatever normal software. Then you can build whatever constrained (in whatever ways you like) software.

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                        I’ll be honest my end goal is a SSH on a chip with e-ink screen and a keyboard. The ultimate terminal.

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                    You can use the Newton’s note-taking software on your smartphone by installing the Einstein emulator along with a ROM of the Newton OS. I have it working on my Android. It’s not very practical without a reliable stylus, but it’s interesting to play with.

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                      a modern smartphone must wait three to four hours before going back to work

                      My iPhone 6, which I take good care of, gets a full charge from 0 to 100% in about an hour.

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                        This post was written in 2011.

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                          Nice catch, I didn’t see that.

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                          That’s not because your battery is actually full, but because the software is designed to lie to you. It’s not full after an hour.

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                            But why would they lie?

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                              Batteries are hard. Lithium-ion more so. Users demand full batteries, so software has to lie to make the user happy.

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                                Because charging in the beginning is fast, but very slow in the end. If users see that the first half is charged in 2 hours, they expect that the other half takes the same time. Hardware companies usually try to avoid “shitstorms” from clueless users on “social” media and prefer to adapt the software instead of educating people about complex topics in chemistry.

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                                don’t fill your batteries though :(. Poor LIPO’s.

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                                Sure but after a 3 hour drive home. Can’t argue with math.

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                                  Nearly every bar, coffee shop, etc. I’ve been in has a phone charger (or patron with one) they’ll let me use for a few minutes as necessary. I certainly know I’ve got a charger in my car too. But trying to bum some AA batteries off a stranger in a Starbucks? Hahaha, when does that happen? I mean, if a palm works for you and you like it, great, but let’s not kid ourselves.

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                                    I was joking, so I will kid myself. I think the number cited there is very inflated. That being said I do hate having to charge devices and would love a device that lasts as long as my kindle but does a bit more than read books. The battery life is long enough though that you would never ever be in a situation where you ran out of batteries without expecting it for a few days, so you wouldn’t be bumming AA’s.

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                                    I hate it when my phone dies before I go home :-(

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                                  Really makes me wish I’d held onto my Palm IIIe I had as a kid.

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                                    Almost the same thought here, about my Palm devices. Except in my case both of mine got damaged after a year or two of use. My first was a Palm V, and later I had a Palm Zire.

                                    Not sure, but it seems like that they don’t make such interesting and good devices nowadays, even though the hardware power and specs keep increasing.

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                                    I wouldn’t trade my iPhone 6+ for anything, but I do miss my old MP2100. It had a nice purity of purpose and worked really pretty well, and at least it wasn’t running some adjectival UNIX (™) derivative.