iPhone 4S, Surface Tablet, PalmPilot: 10 Mobile Gadgets We Love - InformationWeek

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2/3/2015
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iPhone 4S, Surface Tablet, PalmPilot: 10 Mobile Gadgets We Love

With Valentine's Day coming up, we're waxing nostalgic about some of our most-loved mobile devices, from the PalmPilot to the iPhone4S.
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(Image: Marcin Grygiel via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Marcin Grygiel via Wikimedia Commons)

In honor of Valentine's Day later this month, InformationWeek is highlighting the gadgets we love. From the silly to the serious, we just adore technology, and we know you do as well. Over the course of the next week, we'll be taking a look at some of our favorite tech toys of all time. Today, we're paying homage to our favorite mobile devices.

The mobile device seems like a pretty short-lived category, but when you think about it, we've been doing our best to miniaturize and mobilize technology for decades. Our smartphones are now significantly more powerful than the computers that landed on the moon (talk about mobile technology). The iPhone is less than eight years old, but remember when you couldn't live without a PDA? They've been around since 1984. Think about that for a second. The first PDA came out the same year Apple released the Macintosh and this awesome commercial.

Anyone else find it a little eerie that the devices released Apple (and others) since then actually do make our world a little more like George Orwell's 1984, with cameras everywhere? These items even make it easier for the government to track us wherever we go.

OK, taking off our tinfoil hat, we've known since the first cave painting that we needed a mobile device. Those paintings recorded the memory of nomadic hunters and gatherers. The scenes painted on the walls told of the success of the hunt for sake of the painters -- should they ever return -- and for others who may have found the cave. The only problem was you couldn't fold up the cave wall like a map. So stories had to be shared around the camp fire. Since then, we've been on a quest to find ways to store our most important information in more efficient and more mobile means.

[Office for Android, Outlook upgrade, and more in Microsoft news.]

Of course, we could just fill a whole gallery of mobile devices with various versions of the iPhone, the iPad, and the Galaxy. That would be dull. So, the rules are that only one version of any mobile device gets into our top 10 here. And, even though it is obvious that the iPhone 6 is more powerful than earlier versions, if a device has multiple versions, we're going to pick the one that we enjoyed most during its run. Otherwise, if it stores information and you can pick it up and move it, it is fair game. Chances are, you've owned a bunch of these in your lifetime.

Click through InformationWeek's list of favorities, which runs from newest to oldest. See which of your favorites we nailed. Then hit us up in the comments section below and tell us about all the ones we missed.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2015 | 12:22:03 PM
Re: the squeeze out
It's a shame because, at least regarding the New York City location, the look of the store was very impressive. Everything looked shiny and new and state of the art. Too bad it had no backbone.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/25/2015 | 4:51:50 AM
Re: the squeeze out
I have a Bluetooth keyboard from Brookstone which rolls up and is nice and portable.  It leaves a lot to be desired and the battery power is problematic, but it was super cheap, so eh.  :p
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/9/2015 | 10:42:26 AM
Re: the squeeze out
Joe, interestingly, i have never bought a satisfactory product at Brookstone. Years ago I lived through an odd phase in which many gifts were Brookstone gift certificates. I checked out product after product after product and I returned every one. From the smallest and cheapest to the biggest and most expensive. Each had a big flaw in function or appearance. So I don't like Brookstone.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/9/2015 | 9:42:36 AM
Re: the squeeze out
@soozyg: I saw a relatively new type of Bluetooth "keyboard" about a year ago at Brookstone... It just displays lasers onto the tabletop or other surface you're working on, and you type onto this virtual keyboard, pressing the spots on the surface where the keys are.

Convenient, but probably not the height of ergonomics.  (Although you'd think they could arrange for a more ergonomic solution while keeping the same general concept...)
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/8/2015 | 9:50:39 AM
Re: the squeeze out
@Joe, yes the iMac came with BlueTooth (or at least wireless) keyboard. At the beginning I liked it. It's cool. But when the batteries start to fade or when I use rechargable batteries, then the keyboard gets quite finicky very quickly. I don't know what material the keyboard is made from, but the keys do feel good to the touch.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/8/2015 | 3:07:48 AM
Re: the squeeze out
Well, Windows 8 won't last forever.  Maybe the next Windows will be better received.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/8/2015 | 3:06:41 AM
Re: the squeeze out
@soozyg: I don't even own a tablet presently.  I don't like the small screens; ergonomically, I need something much bigger.  I'm waiting until the price comes down on the Surface Pro 2 or 3, or until the iPad 3 becomes available for a good price -- at which point, with the help of a better Bluetooth keyboard than I have now, a tablet may well become my laptop replacement.

(There are a few mega-screen tablets out there from some off-brands, but I'd prefer to not work with an Android tablet for my laptop replacement.)
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2015 | 11:19:26 AM
Re: Voice dictation
PDA's usage is rather limited and it seems that it has never been quite popular.


@Li Tan     I agree.     I am still trying to cleanse myself of the PDA experience. Thank Goodness it was short.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2015 | 11:16:26 AM
Re: the squeeze out
I can easily admit that I like the Surface, really a useful piece of hardware, but is the tablet done ?    I think so.  Consumers will fork out the extra money to buy a Surface as opposed to some 10" ipad or even droid, however I am still not a fan of Windows 8 and I have had it about a year now.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2015 | 10:21:32 AM
Re: the squeeze out
I hope tablets don't become laptop replacements. I actually have a desktop (iMac) and I totally adore it. Love the huge screen. I hate doing work on laptops and tablets.

Joe, with all the writing that you do, how much do you do on a tablet?
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