HP iPaq hx4700: five minutes to modern

    “Excuse me for asking, but why do you need him?” This is a question of the seller of the vintage pocket computer. And I think, really, why? Nostalgia? The desire to return to times when the grass was greener? Want to write a post on Habr? I answer honestly: in 2005 I bought one, in 2009 I sold it for good money (enough for a new Nokia E63), now I regret it, I want to restore it. Cool device. Yes, the seller is responsible, he is the best! "I had seven of them !"

    And then I realized that I was still far away from the bottom of the abyss of the collection of the name of Stepan Plyushkin. Seven! How? Okay. Pocket computer produced in 2004 comes in almost factory condition. After selling all their devices, to the latter, the seller put an extra cradle, a leather case, two memory cards, two additional covers on the screen and wiring for charging. I understand all this and go on a tour almost 15 years ago.

    Windows Mobile is a mobile OS, from which you can easily reach modern iOS and Android. In the middle of the two thousandth, she briefly knocked out the top threein the market of early smartphones, so that, along with Symbian and Blackberry OS, they will lose to newcomers with a bang. Today - a review of the device on which I once read a lot of books, reviewed a bunch of movies on trips, used for car navigation. The first device in my memory that was truly universal, but at the same time inferior to modern smartphones in almost everything.

    Probably in 2018 one important clarification is already needed. In the two thousandth device on Windows Mobile divided into "handheld computers" and "smartphones", more precisely then for some reason the stupid term "communicators" was distributed. Perhaps it was used because smartphones were called Nokia devices based on Symbian, which did not have touch screens. That is, then, already in the process of flooding the "burning platform", there were, but at first it was not. Yes. Therefore, Windows Mobile is not smartphones, but communicators, because with a touchscreen ... Apart from Windows Mobile smartphones: devices without a touchscreen, on a special OS version. The first such device at the end of 2003 was the Motorola Mpx200 phone .

    Yeah, well, I explained, quality. Okay, for this post, the division intoSmartphone communicators and PDAs: the latter were obviously deprived of a telephone module. I also managed to use the communicator on Windows Mobile, but in the middle of the zero these were devices with a doubtful set of consumer qualities. They were not able to make them thin yet, and even with a small four-inch screen by today's standards, they were huge. And now you won’t surprise anyone with shovels, while the development of “mobile computers with integrated phones” was preceded by the trend of miniaturization of classic mobile phones. In short, you leave the house, and you need to call, and you get the newest thousand-dollar communicator, and the boys look at you with regret: it’s necessary, how unlucky, to put such a frying pan to your ear.

    Then, of course, they could: later communicator samples, such as the HTC HD2already similar to what we call smartphones today. At some point, “just handheld computers” are not that disappearing from sale: they have become cheap devices for beginners. HP iPaq hx4700, released in 2004, is one of the last representatives of the “pre-green” CPC, not cheap devices for businessmen, in which they tried to put the maximum of technologies and style available at that time. Let's look at him, and he let him look at us.

    A modern Hi-End Pocket PC should have a minimal gentlemanly set of features, namely: a processor with a frequency of at least 520 MHz, a working memory of at least 64 MB, two integrated wireless adapters, and most importantly a screen with an extension of 640x480 pixels

    Review of the handheld computer HP iPaq hx4700, Mobile-Review.com , February 4, 2005.

    In 2005, of course, I did not buy this PDA in a store: there was no longer a poor student, but not so secure. I bought a slightly beu, and it was still not cheap. He then cost $ 600 or, as written in one of the reviews, "about 17,700 rubles." Despite the cost of purchase, the set of qualities of this device promised some savings. The metal case hinted at durability. Two slots for memory cards - it was convenient, and you could still buy cheaper cards with a smaller volume. The screen is VGA, and the processor is top Intel, even when they had a line of processors on ARM, with a frequency of 624 megahertz. This frequency remained the most accessible in mobile devices for a very long time, almost three or four years, until the devices with an 800 MHz processor or even 1 GHz went.

    In general, it was such a sensible purchase for many years to come. By today's standards, the device certainly looks outdated: this huge frame around the screen, the thickness of the LCD display that is no longer impressive by brightness. At the same time, among mostly plastic competitors, the iPaq looked solid. The most controversial “innovation” in this model is the replacement of traditional buttons or a joystick for navigation with a small but full-fledged touchpad. With it, you could scroll the text, special tap-zones replaced the usual buttons up and down, and a separate mode turned it into just a touchpad, with the appearance of the mouse cursor on the screen.

    Even when this design worked fine, it made it almost impossible to control the game properly: instead of the touch buttons, they usually used physical launch keys on the sides of the application. The problem was that almost everyone had this touchpad buggy, passing chaotic clicks and scrolling to the PDA. Someone he even unstuck. I had to turn it off, either programmatically or permanently, by ritual cutting of contacts. In 2005, I was also unlucky, and in 2018 I was lucky: in my freshly purchased copy, the touchpad works. And if it works, let's put some software on.

    In his hand, the computer feels very thoroughly, but is not at all comfortable. The fault is too straightforward forms and considerable width. In addition, it seemed inconvenient for us to use the PDA manipulator (in this case, the touchpad plays its role).

    iPaq hx4700 - the most "packed" PDA from HP, ZOOM.Cnews , without date

    Let's put something to the software.
    First you need to attend to such a thing as a crack. As far as I remember, in the devices officially delivered to us, Russification was added either to the firmware itself, or somewhere to the side. I have the same option from Europe, it requires a separate treatment. Once again I would like to thank the company MakTsentr, at one time the official importer of this and many other devices. They not only saved the old pages with the Pocket RussKey cracker, but also posted the registration key for this once-paid product.

    Everything is very colorful, only the first installation attempt caused the device to hang tightly, I had to look for how to make a “hard” reset. Windows Mobile in general and native to this device WM2003 for Pocket PC - it is. It seems to work, and then how it will give out something like: "memory can not write to memory in the field of drivers for drivers". And you are sitting there, cuddled with android and material interfaces, and you do not know what to do.

    Not all companies keep their history as well as MakTsentr. I decided to search, suddenly in those days I bought some kind of software for a PDA, and I found it! On September 10, 2005, I purchased the SPB Pocket Plus program from SPB Software. For 398 rubles 41 kopecks. It was a special, now almost extinct, and then very popular subtype of commercial software in the genre of "let's fix the obvious shortcomings of the operating system with the help of crutches and putty." In the screenshot above, you can see some improvements: the battery indicator on the top edge of the screen, the quick launch menu of applications on the Today screen, there are quick adjustments for volume and brightness, and display of the remaining bytes on memory cards. How did we live without it all before?

    Seriously, the software of SPB and other similar manufacturers made life in Windows Mobile much more convenient. A little later, the company released a whole shell, almost completely replacing the Windows Mobile interface, which I also have a letter about in the mail, which in itself (for those who know) has little historical value:

    Okay. In 2011, the company SPB Software buys Yandex. The news was notable, even in foreign mediahave written. It seems that, as part of Yandex, the SPB Software team will develop either a mobile platform or an entire operating system — at the turn of the tenth and zero, many companies still hoped to compete with Google android. It seems to have failed, but now I don’t want to talk about it. The SPB Software House site with the previously released software in the process of mergers and acquisitions was annihilated. In order to activate the program with my legitimate key, I had to look for the SPB Pocket Plus installer of the required version in the pirated archives. I understand that in the leapfrog of corporate movement there is often no time for memories. I hope all the same that at least large companies will pay more attention to the creative heritage.

    Okay, put a book reader. Haali Reader, if I am not mistaken, is the ancestor of the modern FBReader, which I still use today. The hx4700 is also suitable for reading books today: it is no longer necessary to specifically “prepare” files, as for Palm OS, just throw them onto a memory card. Is that orientation switching does not work, as on modern devices - there is no accelerometer, and you have to assign a separate button to this action. And to switch pages, you can reassign the end button of the recorder. And beauty. The archive of books in my smartphone accurately keeps its pedigree from this PDA.

    This is now playing video is nothing special, and then the ability of the iPaq hx4700 to play movies without prior conversion was a great achievement. hx4700 is the first device on which I was able to untie the digital use of content from a computer or laptop. It could even stream video over WiFi, although this operation heated the device to uncomfortable temperatures, and put the battery in almost an hour. This progress coincided with the fashion for the series: “Lost” and “Doctor House” partially looked at the CCP.

    Benefits of Navigation
    The purchase of a PDA coincided with my purchase of the first car. Windows Mobile seems to be the first platform on which the mapping software was suitable for everyday use, and not just for admiring the progress. In 2009, I sold the device to an off-road fan, who then probably put OZI Explorer on him.and flooded the General Staff maps to navigate where the road has never been. As far as I know, the relocation of this specialized software on Android was delayed, so that the iron hx4700 with a more or less powerful iron and a screen not blinding in the sun was, for those in the subject, suitable for some time after obsolescence. There is no built-in GPS in the iPaq, but an external receiver can be connected via Bluetooth. In some cases, this combination provides a more confident reception.

    I put the GIS Russa program on the PDA - it is not, in the strict sense, navigation software, rather it shows you the location on the map and the path. This was already useful, especially I liked the sensor mode in the program. When traveling long distances, he, however, motivated him to go faster so that the average speed did not fall.

    At that time, there was a dispute with lawsuits around the GIS Russa, which put an end to the collective work that began on drawing "popular" maps of various parts of our (and not only) country. As far as I know, a part of the code of this program was later inherited by the Navitel navigator - there were similar sensors there. Another couple of screenshots and impressions of the GIS Russa I have in my telegram .

    For real navigation, with the instructions of the iron woman, I at that time used the still existing iGo. I tried the Garmin navigator - in it I was surprised to find a very detailed map with country tracks and courtyards. This detail let me down, long ago, on a trip to the Voronezh region. For some reason, the navigator decided that the dirt road, which is only half a kilometer shorter than the usual route, is very cool and you should definitely go there. At first it was funny, then scary, then I arrived in the village, and the locals looked at me with such surprise that they saw the self-propelled cart for the first time. And then, having broken through the overgrown thicket, I saw the same route, from which I had gone half an hour earlier.

    Possessing a very modest FIVE, I decided to test the hx4700 for ergonomics with acquaintances who have truly mining hands. The result was disappointing: even in a large male hand, the CCP was not quite comfortable, trying to jump out of it and go far away.

    HP iPAQ hx4700: the strict face of the elite, Ferra.ru , October 20, 2004

    The failure of
    Windows Mobile suffered the fate of the Symbian and Palm OS platforms: all three ended their existence not peacefully, but suddenly, with scandals and drama. Interestingly, Palm OS was buried in favor of Windows Mobile, which itself did not live long after that. They all suffered from a heavy legacy that hindered progress. Windows Mobile was sharpened under the stylus, and in later models with a capacitive screen, had an interface "under the finger", which was frankly crooked. Symbian did almost all its life without touchscreen. Released to the iPhone (right now, we will show them how to!) Nokia N97 was a fantastic failure. Palm OS is not mastered even multitasking.

    All three platforms did not have obvious technologies for today, for example, a centralized app store with user-friendly download and payment. The hx4700 experience in all its glory shows this flaw: Windows Mobile programs have traditionally been distributed as an executable file for a computer that had to be started, connected to a PDA, and so on. It was possible to pull out the mobile installer itself, and skip part of this procedure, but it is still inconvenient. Having bought a Nokia smartphone for the replacement of iPaq, I generally ran into some certificates that are issued every third Tuesday at night on a special server in China in order to install an unauthorized switch of keyboard letters. Argh!

    At the same time, I am not sure that Windows Mobile had to be killed the way Microsoft did - sharply and in favor of the absolutely incompatible Windows Phone platform. In favor of the latter, by the way, both Windows Mobile and Symbian were shot, and now it seems that she herself was sent to the museum department. Perhaps all these outdated platforms deserved such an inglorious end, but this does not mean that I support the current Android hegemony. Of the alternatives proposed at the junction of two decades of the twenty-first century, only one grown from Maemo / Meego Sailfish OS lives . Health to them!

    The fact that such turbulence occurred in the mobile equipment market, my PDA is not to blame. He is soon fifteen years old, but after replacing the backup battery he looks and works like new. Even the original battery is still alive, although I certainly bought another one for replacement. With all the features of Windows Mobile, I can not fail to note the extremely low discharge of the battery in standby mode: the battery does not shrink for weeks!

    I studied this device as something lazy. Indeed, until the end of the decade, enthusiasts sawed for iPaq custom firmware with Windows Mobile right up to version 6.5. And there is still an early version of Android, you can put and even a full-fledged Linux. But I like it in its original form, with an early OS, a minimum of programs and a photo frame mode, when it is installed in the cradle. Not at all intending to do this initially, I seem to have bought myself the first real museum piece: for what a modern device, but aesthetically pleasing device from the recent past is not enough.

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