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What is an HP Palmtop?

An HP Palmtop is a vintage handheld computer, a precursor to today's smartphones. These pocket-sized devices offered portability and functionality, with features like a full keyboard, basic applications, and data storage. They were a glimpse into a future where computing could travel with you. Curious about how they paved the way for modern tech? Let's explore their legacy together.
Tiffany Garden
Tiffany Garden

A palmtop computer, also known as a hand-held personal computer (PC), is a type of computer that is smaller than a laptop or netbook and is designed to easily be held in the palm of the hand. Hewlett Packard® (HP®) palmptops generally are available in five main versions and come in numerous different models. HP palmtops set themselves apart from other hand-held PCs by having a large screen and a keyboard. The final HP palmtop to be released was the HP 660Lx in 2005. Advances in personal digital assistants (PDA) and smartphone technology have played a part in edging palmtops out of the mainstream market.

The HP 660Lx has a 256 color display shown in a 640x240 pixel video graphics array (VGA), a fax and modem card, internal memory, and a number of productivity software packages. This HP palmtop uses Windows® CE 2.0, which is an embedded Windows® operating system (OS) that should be familiar to most Windows® users. There are three different input methods with an HP palmtop — touchscreen, stylus, and keyboard.

An HP palmtop may be hard to find at any place other than eBay.
An HP palmtop may be hard to find at any place other than eBay.

Earlier models of the HP palmtop, such as the HP 200Lx and 300Lx, have case designs that are not as streamlined as the HP 660Lx. Their processor speeds were 7 megahertz (MHz), compared to the 75 MHz that the HP 660Lx offered. Throughout the product line, HP® continually improved its palmtops for faster processor speeds, increased internal memory, and additions to the productivity software. HP® considers its palmtops to be vintage hand-held computers and are no longer developing any new revisions to the HP palmtop line. The HP Omnigo was a small line of palmtops, but like the main palmtop line, HP has not kept up with the Omnigo series.

HP® has shifted its focus from the HP palmtop line to other small devices. Netbooks, smartphones, and PDAs take the place of the palmtops, and it does not appear that HP® offers current support for these devices. Purchasing an HP palmtop could prove to be difficult. They are not offered on HP®'s site, and are hard to find at any place other than eBay where most of them are used. Given how long it has been since the last revision was manufactured, it could be a challenge to find a palmtop in perfect working order.

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    • An HP palmtop may be hard to find at any place other than eBay.
      By: Ana Blazic Pavlovic
      An HP palmtop may be hard to find at any place other than eBay.