[NTLK] On Eve of iPad 3G, Anyone Have A Motorola Marco Newton OS Device?

Ed Kummel tech_ed at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 21 16:04:47 EDT 2010

The Marco was my first Newton. I was lucky, the company I worked for at the time did short-term rentals of communication equipment, so I got to play around with this stuff.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my Marco, and it's non-AOL email address (back then, AOL was synonymous to Internet), it had two failings. The handwriting recognition wasn't that good (it was the equivalent to a Newton 110 internally) and the heap space left a lot to desire. There was no multi-tasking if you were using the radio...I loved that the Marco and the Envoy both used the same battery...I could interchange as I desired. But the proprietary battery was a pain...it was actually a physical part of the external case to the Envoy/Marco. This limited the third-party availability and the use of standard batteries.
The Ardis system was developed by IBM to allow their service people to have coverage inside buildings. Their service people used ardis radio devices to get schematic information. As such, if you were in an Ardis covered area, you got signal no matter where you were, inside or outside. It also did multi-pathing so that you could get signal even if it was bounced off of a building or through green-leaf attenuation. 
I eventually upgraded to a Newton 120 with an external Ardis radio modem that was almost as big as the Newton!
Later I sent the 120 away to get upgraded to OS2. I also switched to DTS, and even toyed around with Wynd, I found out at a CTIA convention in Atlanta one year that you could use the the DTS software and the AllPoints card on the Wynd network. All you had to do was change the service ID. To do this you had to triple-tap a button (the only triple-tap I know of on the Newton) and enter the Wynd service ID. AT&T was playing around with packet radio at the time too, and they had an external packet radio modem that a police force in California was using for their bicycle police. They had a Newton 2100 mounted to the handle-bars, and the packet radio modem attached to the bike frame and a serial cable plugged into the Newton via a dongle. I talked to the developer of this, and he said that the weak spot was the "stupid" dongle (his words) and that Apple kept a tight reign on the source of this proprietary inter-connect port and in order to get any, you had to
 jump through hoops that Apple dictated. A later conversation with him he told me that the inability to get interconnect ports from Apple killed the project (I've heard the same thing from several other developers too) 
But heap was a big problem with the 120 and the AllPoints card and software too. It wasn't until I had a Newton 2000 that I was able to use the AllPoints card successfully on my Newton without having to freeze most of the packages on the Newton. 
web/gadget guru


By Galactic God in Futurama

"When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

--- On Tue, 4/20/10, Jonathan Schalliol <jon at schalliol.com> wrote:

From: Jonathan Schalliol <jon at schalliol.com>
Subject: [NTLK] On Eve of iPad 3G, Anyone Have A Motorola Marco Newton OS Device?
To: newtontalk at newtontalk.net
Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 10:57 AM

The iPad 3G (a phone-less device) is coming out in days, but the Motorola Marco Newton OS Device is the last product running an Apple OS with a built-in data-only tower wireless network (as far as I can tell).  I really enjoyed playing with these on the ARDIS network back in the mid-1990s (along with the Sony Magic Link-sister the Motorola Envoy).  I almost bought the Envoy actually, I think it was like $1,500, but the biggest issue was how expensive that data network was for monthly service.

If you have one, or used one regularly, perhaps you could write-in here to share your memories before Apple brings this new device on board.


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