Need a small laptop? I mean really small? But with a
real keyboard? And long battery life? Boy, do I have the
computer for you. No, not a WinCE machine. It's the Poqet
PC. I wanted one of these so bad, I went out and actually
bought one. It's an XT clone, packed into a case the size
of the larger WinCE machines. It came out in 1989, nearly
a decade ago. It runs seemingly forever on just 2 AA
batteries. It is a little on the slow side, but it's an
impressive machine even today.
It's "instant-on." Turn it on and you're
right where you left off. It never really gets turned
off, unless you drain the batteries all the way.
You can actually type on the keyboard. I mean really
touch-type. And I have fat fingers. The only problem is
that after you've used the Poqet PC awhile, a normal
keyboard seems way too big. (The "Q" key is way
over there!) The keys have a great feel to them. WinCE
machines are just catching up to this level of quality.
The screen is your standard 80x25 characters. You can
run it in MDA or CGA mode. CGA mode used shades of grey
instead of colors, obviously. The screen is easy to read
in good light, but kinda indistinct in dim lighting.
Screen dimensions are about 6" x 2". It's wider
for its height than many screens, making the characters
a little squashed.
It has your standard 640k built-in. It uses low power
SRAM cards as a floppy disk replacements, up to two at a
time. Standard card sized were 256k, 512k, and 1 meg. You
can also use 2 meg cards with a special formatting
There's one port on the back that takes a special
interface cable. Through it you can add floppy drives,
modems, printers, and the like. You can even hook up a
ZIP drive using a special driver available. (Since it has
DOS 3 burned in ROM, the ZIP disk gets carved into three
32 meg chunks.)
It also has a few little programs burned into ROM,
which I don't use. (I'm addicted to SpeedScript. It came
with source code, so I can fix it up the way I like it.)
One other interesting feature, you can still buy brand
new units. When Poqet went under, their supply of un-sold
Poqet PCs went to Fujitsiu, who then sold them to
California Digital. So, for $189, you can have a new one.