The eMate 300 I ordered on eBay finally arrived this afternoon - the mailperson decided to leave the package on my front step in the rain/snow.
I fired it up, and aside from the battery being dead (it's only a decade old), it works great! The previous owner left it in Classroom Mode so I had to perform the über-hard reset (hold down the power key, tap the reset button on the bottom, and keep holding until the reset prompts come on screen). That got it back to factory condition - but I lost the installed copy of Works, and there were no install CDs provided. Doh. Off to unna.org...
I have to say - Newton OS 2.1 is pretty darned sweet. The thing just hums along nicely, and everything just seems to work as expected. The handwriting/printing recognition is nearly flawless - and when it has problems, it's obviously a result of my less-than-legible printing.
The form factor is pretty sweet, too. It's slightly smaller than a 12" iBook, with a shorter screen. The built in keyboard is pretty nice, and would make long writing sessions (or just correcting the occasional recognition error) go quicker. The backlight is nice, too. My MP120 doesn't have one, and it makes it nearly unusable when not in a very brightly lit room.
It must have been pretty sweet to have a classroom full of these puppies, with the classroom dock and charging station, and each student having their own eMate (and private account on it, too). I haven't seen anything quite as well thought out since. That's a bit of a shame in and of itself.
I'll post some pics to Flickr when I get the chance - probably after installing some apps on it to show what it looks like. Evan's going to LOVE this thing, since he can draw on it, as well as practicing his new letters. That should be fun. And it's supposed to be rather ruggedized, so it might survive more than 30 seconds with The Boy™.
Playing with Newton OS 2.1 has me wanting a full MessagePad 2100, though. Man, that would be sweet. 10x faster than the eMate, in a hand-held form factor for easier handwriting. Slap in an 802.11b card and you're online, too. I've got to start rummaging through my couch cushions for some spare twonies for eBay...
This post is brought to you by the words "pretty" and "sweet", apparently. Man, do I need a Reader's Digest subscription. Ways to Enrich Your Word Power, anyone?