HP Jornada pocket computer from 1998. Part 1

The other day, a device from a relatively distant past fell into my hands – I managed to buy it for about 3,000 rubles. This device is almost a quarter of a century old. We are talking, as is already clear from the title, about the HP Jornada 680. This is a pocket PC, which at one time became, if not a breakthrough, then still a significant event in the IT world.

Many PDAs from Hewlett-Packard have passed through my hands (both now and at the time when they were really new). But still HP Jornada stands out sharply among them all. The HP Jornada 680 is an almost full-fledged, very small computer based on Windows CE 2.11.

What is this device?

At the time of the release of the device, HP said that the device is designed for those users who are accustomed to Microsoft Windows 95/98 or Windows NT 4.0 and Microsoft Office. Of course, you won’t be able to use it as a desktop, but as a mobile device on which all documents are stored, it’s fine. At any time, you could open the device, change a document or create a new one, add a meeting reminder, add a task.

Of course, any PDA can handle most of this work, but writing a long document that is needed here and now is a problem with the PDA. But the HP Jornada 680 allowed all this to be done on the go.

Main characteristics of the device

A small overview of design and features

Even now the device looks cool, if it had modern hardware, I would love to use it as a mobile workhorse. The design is successful, although by today’s standards the device is somewhat thick, so to speak (when compared with modern devices, of course). For me, its thickness does not play any role – on the contrary, it is felt that the thing is in the hands. You don’t wear jeans in your pocket, but you don’t need to. But in the deep pocket of a jacket or jacket, he already fits himself quite well.

The keyboard is of great importance – it is full and comfortable. Of course, it takes a little getting used to, since the size is small, but you can print quickly. I tried – it turned out to type text without problems. If I had to use the device for a week or a month, I would probably type at almost the usual speed.

Here is the list of installed software: Microsoft Windows CE, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket PowerPoint Viewer, Pocket Internet Explorer, Pocket Access, Remote networking, World Clock, Solitaire, Calculator, Microsoft Pocket Outlook, Bsquare bFax Professional, HP Jornada viewer, dialup, settings, show, backup, hot keys, quick pad, macro, Financial Software, Month-at-a-Glance Plus, Audio Recording, Java Virtual Machine.

Well, at the same time, a description of the device: PDA, Stand, Stylus, AC Adapter, Cable for synchronization with a desktop PC, Li-Ion battery, User’s Guide, HP Jornada CD-ROM, Microsoft® Windows® CE CD-ROM: Microsoft Windows CE Services 2.2 or ActiveSync® 3.0.

As for the software, it has everything you need to surf, check mail, send messages. According to the developer, at the time of release, the PDA could even handle “complex pages with frames or graphics.” Plus, there were no problems with Cyrillic either – there were all fonts and encodings for normal work with alphabets, in addition to Latin.

If necessary, it was possible to send or receive a fax using the bFaxPro program. My PDA model has a built-in modem (56 Kb / s, by the way!), Where a telephone cable is simply inserted, and you can work. Unfortunately, there is no landline telephone in the apartment, so it was not possible to test the device. And there are no cables in the purchased PDA, so you can’t even connect it to a laptop, which, of course, upset me. There is, by the way, an infrared port.

The top row of buttons on the keyboard is tied to specific applications. You can switch between them or start new ones. In addition, the PDA software has the ability to rebind the software to other buttons. To store data, you can use both the internal memory of the machine, it is 16 MB here, and a CompactFlash card. It must be inserted into a special slot at the bottom of the device. The slot for this card in my communicator is broken, so I’ll have to fix it, and then insert the card and fully explore the capabilities of the device.

The device came to me only with a stylus, I picked up a universal charger. By the way, the battery is inserted in the usual way for most laptops of previous years – you need to insert it into the slots until it clicks, this is an external, not internal, battery. And yes, after so many years it works! It lasts about an hour, but this is normal, because I’m still not going to travel with the device. In the new PDA, the battery lasted about 8 hours of autonomous work.

The developers have also provided for the possibility of connecting a full-fledged keyboard, plus a PDA can be connected to an external monitor (the resolution is up to 1024*768 pixels, which is not bad). As far as I understand, however, all this is implemented using a docking station, which I do not have.

And yes, the PDA has a slot for a PCMCI card, and I even have a card (pictured). But when the card was connected, it did not start by itself, but how to upload drivers to the device without connecting a PC or a CompactFlash card there is another question.

In the dry matter

I must say right away that this is only a preliminary review of the device – without trying to connect to the Internet, without installing additional applications, etc. The PDA fell into the hands of just about a week ago, so now I am publishing only, so to speak, an external review – I really liked the device, so I wanted to share it. It is a pity, of course, that now this device cannot be used for work – morally it has become obsolete many years ago. And I would like to, eh.

The plans include buying a docking station, installing drivers for the card (I’ll also clarify whether it is compatible with this device, or you need to buy a much older model, which I suspect) and disassembling the device. He is not all right with the memory card slot, the mount and the holding mechanism are broken there. During the repair I will take photos and post them in the second part of the article. So don’t switch!

And yes, if you had experience with the device at a time when it was not obsolete, tell us how it was for you and what problems you solved with it.

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