Computers

Retro MS-DOS Palmtop Resurrected With Raspberry Pi Zero

We miss the palmtop computer, one of the many varieties of sub-laptop rudely swallowed up by the rise to dominance of the smartphone and tablet. Hooray, then, for Canadian hacker Rune Kyndal, who has crammed a full Linux computer (a Raspberry Pi Zero W) and color screen into the shell of an HP-95LX PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). He’s called it the HPI95LX, obviously, and Hackaday reported on it

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Rune Kyndal's HPI95LX project

(Image credit: Rune Kyndal)
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Rune Kyndal's HPI95LX project

(Image credit: Rune Kyndal)
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Rune Kyndal's HPI95LX project

(Image credit: Rune Kyndal)
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Rune Kyndal's HPI95LX project

(Image credit: Rune Kyndal)
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Rune Kyndal's HPI95LX project

(Image credit: Rune Kyndal)

The 95LX, you’ll no doubt remember, was HP’s first attempt at a palmtop or PDA running MS-DOS, back in 1991. The NEC V20 CPU ran at 5.37MHz, up to 1MB of RAM was available, and the whole thing ran on two AA batteries, with a couple of coin cells to make sure the removable SRAM card (up to 32MB of storage) didn’t lose data. The screen could display two shades of gray across its 240 x 128px, 4.8 x 1.8 inch LCD matrix with no backlight. It ran MS-DOS 3.22 with a custom version of Lotus 1-2-3. HP produced nearly half a million 95LX units and over time released many iterations of successors.


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