I was asked to think about my favourite ever tech Christmas present, and my first thought – like that of many others – was a console. And yes, the moment I unwrapped FIFA 01 and a shiny new PS2 on Christmas Day 2002 made for an excellent day. But, in my mind there’s something that tops even those two items – a used Palm Tungsten PDA.
Well, I should probably make clear that I can’t remember exactly whether it was a Tungsten that was wrapped up in a nondescript box. But after a quick Google image search, the silver “tablet” certainly rings a distant bell in my head and I’m going with it.
To be honest, the 11-year-old – or possibly 12; it was a while ago – me who unwrapped that futuristic device didn’t care which model it was, or even that it had very obviously had a few owners before me. I was just ecstatic about finally having a little PDA of my own, after years of stealing glances at my Dad’s Psion and making James Bond gadgets out of cardboard.
For those who weren’t up with the “cutting-edge” tech of the early 2000s, a Palm was a basically a small tablet that offered some of the very basic smartphone features before those were a thing. It had a web browser of sorts, a super-basic video player and offered support for some games. It even had a telescopic stylus for navigating around the very un-responsive touchscreen.
It was a device pretty solely aimed at the business market as a way to get work done, or probably a means by which to check your calendar on-the-go. Considering I was an 11-year-old who probably had absolutely no use for such a gadget, it might seem like an odd present. But I loved it and carried it around everywhere, likely because I thought it was cool.
I recall finding a way to play The Simpsons episodes on it (that’s a true priority, not checking your to-do list), and it was the first MP3 player I had. It sounded awful, but being able to listen to Mr Brightside in the car made it a winner in my eyes.
Related: Best Christmas Gift Guide
Looking back, it’s hard to comprehend how far we’ve come. I had a quick look at the specs of the original 2002 device and you’ll be impressed to hear it had a 320 x 320 colour display, 900mAh battery, 144MHz Arm processor and a little portion of the display that extended out to make it slightly bigger.
It even had a near-£400 starting price, so I was lucky to even get a used one.