20 year-old Windows CE gadgets rule

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The Jornada 720 is a mini-laptop that wakes up instantly, runs all day on (new) batteries and has recently cut to fit linux distributions, replacing the long-dead Windows CE that came with it. And as Remy van Elst points out, it has one advantage over modern devices such as the iPhone: it comes with root and everything you need to run and own it as a general-purpose computer.

You can develop, compile and run native software on it. It has a C and C++ compiler, Python is available as well as Perl so it is a full fledged development workstation. Not only can you develop software on it, it can run that software as well. Here is a review of the device running standard Windows CE and here is another review including a comparison to its predecessor, the Jornada 680. NCommander has an excellent video on the 680e and the use of the device at the Dutch Railways (NS). In the past I also had an NS 680e but the battery went bad, bricking the entire unit, so I sadly had to throw that away. The Jornada 720 cost me 80 EUR on the Dutch Craigslist (marktplaats), used, but boxed including the manual and software CD-ROM.

I find the Jornada 6/72x keyboard too compact. A similar but larger device, the NEC MobilePro 780/900 (try eBay), is basically the same gadget but proportioned around a nearly full-size keyboard.

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