In my quest for interesting writing devices, I often turn to retro PDAs and old computers just because I finally can lay my hands on devices that, as a kid, I could only marvel at in computer magazines. I also think it’s good to breathe new life into obsolete and unused machines so we can rescue them from e-waste retirement. Why buy a 600$ Freewrite if a 50$ MobileGear will sometimes do better at the same task and maybe in better style. And, of course, there is the thrill of the auction site hunt, repair, exploration, researching, and figuring out all the quirks of retro devices.
Still, of course, I keep my eyes open for newly released devices that try fresh ideas and tackle problems in unique ways. The series of mobile writing devices — Pomera — is one example. I would also like to try the Freewrite, even though I’m not impressed by its price. Thus, I was recently surprised and delighted to learn that the company ClockworkPi that made the unique looking mobile gaming device (GameShell) some time ago decided to release a modern version of a small form computer called the DevTerm.
I stumbled upon it because I was researching a series of retro computers based around a design made by Kyocera in Japan around 1983 – the Kyotronic. This model later became a series of very successful small computers — the TRS 80 model 100 being the most well-known, and the Olivetti M-10 writing device most drool-worthy. The newly released DevTerm is a modern computer inheriting the form factor of a wide panoramic screen put right above a keyboard, even though, of course, it’s smaller and lighter than the 80’s machines. Excited about trying it out as a writing tool, I reached out to ClockworkPi, who were happy to send me one for testing!