This specific category of computers existed primarily in the 1980s and mid 1990s. Manufacturers included Casio, Hewlett-Packard, Sharp, Tandy/Radio Shack (selling Casio and Sharp models under their own TRS line) and many more.
The programming language was usually BASIC, but some devices offered alternatives. For example the Casio PB-2000 could be programmed in Assembly, BASIC, C, CASL and Lisp. Fortran and Prolog cards were also developed for it. The latest Sharp pocket computer, the PC-G850V (2001) is programmable in C, BASIC, and Assembler. An important feature of pocket computers was that all programming languages were available for the device itself, not downloaded from a cross-compiler on a larger computer.
Though not identical, in principle personal digital assistants, handheld PCs, and programmable calculators serve many of the same functions as the pocket computer, generally with significantly more computing power in a package the same size or smaller. The main distinction is that more modern designs (with the exception of programmable calculators) usually do not have included user programming ability and are usually set up to act as clients of a larger system rather than as self-contained environments of their own. Some models of pocket computers had data storage and input/output facilities such as printers and tape drives, floppy disk drives, bar code readers, video interfaces which could be connected to a television set or monitor, and RS-232 interfaces which allowed to connect to a desktop computer or other peripherals.
List of devices
- Description of the PB-2000 in Caz Pocket Computers
- www.hpmuseum.org The Museum of HP Calculators
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- Pocket Computer Museum
- Soviet Calculators Collection (English)
- www.calculators.de – Museum of Pocket Calculating Devices
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