I have to say I’m pretty amazed how they took an essentially dead platform, and very quickly was able to take an unknown ROM, and parse it enough to glue it to a CPU emulator and get it booting. And in 3 days!
Even better, is the emscripten version, where you can boot it from your browser! no really!
Back in the 90’s I saw the crash of the much lofted Newton, and I remember seeing devices like this, and the reprise of geoworks, but they all seemed like such cut down toys. For me, the first killer one, was the Windows CE devices that had PcAnywhere. As now I could actually have a ‘palm top’ with a modem, and dialup into work, and remote control the server infrastructure. I didn’t need a laptop, just a tiny bag, for a machine that I could drive with 2 AA batteries. Although I think Windows CE will go down as the biggest mistake Microsoft had, as it left them complacent in the smart phone space, and their massive market domination was utterly destroyed by iOS & Android. And who thinks Microsoft is relevant today, or a threatening monopoly like they were in the 90’s?
The Psion is an interesting ‘forward’ thinking machine, in that it’s ARM powered, has a Compact Flash slot, RS-232, and infared!.. A perfect mobile machine for the late 90’s. Although combining this with a cellphone would prove too much for far too many of these upstarts, it really was Apple’s brilliant move with the Motorola E398/ROKR that by partnering with a handset manufacturer they could learn all the ropes of bringing a handset to market and then bring along the massive disruption in the industry that is the iPhone.
But before the iPhone, tiny embedded OS’s on tiny RISC processors was the general path save for the few x86/Geos devices. While it was ‘neat’ it really was a dark age of portable machines. So close, yet so far away.
WindEmu is pretty amazing, at the least totally check it out in your browser!
And check out Ninji’s blog as well!