Monday, December 01, 2008

Old tech you'd like to see updated and rereleased

Note an Oracle post, but I know a lot of DBAs and into tech as well.

Yesterday I found my old Psion3 mx (which I used before having to switch to Palm handhelds due to work). I had a play and was reminded why I liked it so much. The key advantage it had, and still has over many more modern devices, is the size. It's small enough to fit in a suit jacket or coat pocket whilst being large enough to have a keyboard you can actually type on and a decent screen size. It also has a decent battery life and, as it runs off a couple of AA batteries, you don't have to worry to much if you're going to be away from the mains for a while. The Psion 5 (that superceded the 3 in 1998) had a larger and slightly more usable keyboard and screen but the size (about that of the Eee PC) meant that it couldn't fit in a pocket so reduced it's utility.

I then got to thinking, how would I improve the Psion3 taking account of the changes of the 10 years since it went out of production?

Here's what I think:

  • Stick with the same basic form of the Psion3mx, same size screen and keyboard.
  • More memory and storage, at least 8GB storage.
  • Increase screen resolution and go full colour.
  • Add graphical viewer (with zoom and pan/scan) and MP3 player/recorder.
  • Add headphone and microphone sockets using standard 3.5mm jacks.
  • Add Bluetooth and, possibly, WiFi (maybe provide WiFi through an external 'holster' with it's own power supply, to reduce drain on the PDA batteries).
  • Replace existing RS232 interface with USB for sync/datatransfer to PC and connection of external devices.
  • Remove the divider in the battery compartment so the batteries are in direct contact with each other (it has a tendency to break so you have to wedge a piece of aluminum foil between them to make the electrical contact).
  • SD card slot.
  • Add rechargable, removable Lithium (or similar high capacity) battery (possibly as external 'holster' option) to replace/supplement existing AA batteries. Allow charging both on an off the device.
  • Update PC connection software for full support of current operating systems, including Linux, and PIM software. Allow wireless sync/datatransfer over Bluetooth.
  • Support for ODF (Open Document Format) in the on board wordprocessor and spreadsheet. Include converter to other formats in PC software.

So, what piece of old tech would you like to see updated and rereleased?