|HP95lx prototype pictures and short commentary|
Message #1 Posted by Edwin Herdman on 4 June 2003, 9:10 p.m.
(Note that the pictures here average ~300K in size, and all are wider than the average PC monitor resolution. Originally posted at the Digital Press Forums, just a few minutes ago.)
Welcome to Jaguar! I've managed to score a Hewlett-Packard 95lx, one of the pioneering handheld devices that started the "handheld computing craze" in 1991. I made a promise a long while back to post pictures at the web's foremost HP portables museum, and I've finally made good on that promise.
This system prototype dates from summer 1990 at earliest, when the specifications for this system were changed from 512K ROM and 128K RAM and a target price of $595 to a whopping 1MB ROM and 512K RAM, with the target now $699.
The apparently ad-hoc nature of the prototype number on this unit (P148) leads one to suspect that this was the 148th prototype from the whole series--not the 148th unit of this type, but the 148th of the whole series. However, according to [url=http://www.palmtoppaper.com/ptphtml/12/pt120055.htm]this page[/url] (alt+w) there were no actual system prototypes made before this point--if March 1990 was the date of the first breadboard's setup. For the moment, the exact meaning of this marking is a mystery to me.
There is no question, however, that this unused, well-preserved unit is not a normal HP-95lx, as seen above. There's a few quirks--within a few minutes of first recieving the unit, I'd managed to freeze up the unit by messing with the RAM/RAM disk memory slider and had to pull the batteries. There are a number of strange files inside the ROM, but the two most interesting are the PCX images that are usable as a replacement for the "business card" layout you can select to display when you first turn the machine on (since it's an instant-on machine, programs are always loaded into memory and the RAM disk faintly hums even when it's powered off).
TOPCARD.PCX is an oddity--a rather poorly constructed screen, with obvious scaling problems in the left hand side icons, and a stray pixel. The next image is a much more pleasing idle screen named ICONS.PCX:
All files on ROM are dated, so one more look at the system's contents should give me a fairly accurate idea when the system was actually made.
Welcome to Jaguar!
Proof of ownership:
Here's a few other pictures that didn't fit in with the text, but are among the best I've got available:
When in use, the 95lx would be opened partway to look something like this. As a 95lx owner will notice, the keyboard is identical (I believe in every way) to those in the final production run.
The unit's top cover as seen from an angle. Quite a good picture; that lens cover in the background is from my digital camera.