Jeff Hawkins On Early Laptops

Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm and Handspring on why the first Laptop had trouble in the market:

This is an amazing fact. We had this product. It was designed for business executives. And the biggest obstacle, one of the biggest obstacles, we had for selling the product was the fact — believe it or not — that it had a keyboard. I was in sales and marketing. I saw this first-hand. At that time, 1982, business people, who were in their 40s and 50s, did not have any computer or keyboard in their offices. And it was associated with being part of the secretarial pool or the word processing (remember that industry?) department. And so you’d put this thing in their office and they’d say, “Get that out of here.” It was like getting a demotion. They really were uncomfortable with it.

Meanwhile today it’s pretty much unimaginable to me that an office wouldn’t have a keyboard. Out with the old, in with the new.

Internet Concept In 1969

Internet Concept In 1969

Here’s a great video of an Internet like concept in 1969. Some particularly interesting things are the gender specific roles and the simplicity of it all. The hardware is almost comical considering how few buttons are on the machines to control the entire interface. There isn’t even a keyboard. Amazingly multiple displays are used, something that even in 2009 is somewhat of a luxury. It even has a precursor to email, nicknamed the “Home Post Office”.