Small portables: Libretto and PSION 5MX

These tiny machines were something I dreamed of during my childhood. I got my hands on a Toshiba Libretto much later. It was maybe 10 years ago when I needed to read diagnostic data from my old car (a Skoda Octavia I 1.6MPI with an automatic transmission – not having a manual transmission was considered heresy even back then in Czech Republic and I always enjoyed being weird). I friend of mine lent me the original diagnostic device together with this small laptop. I immediately fell in love with it. A few years after that I received another one from another friend of mine and I still use it as a bridge between new and old computers (thanks to its serial port and an PCMCIA SD-card reader).

The PSION Series 5MX is a different story. I had it (rebranded from Ericsson) and use it to make notes during my university years. I remember that I read the whole 500-page USB 2.0 specification on its (sometimes hard to read) display. I sold it after I switched to an HP Jornada handheld with Windows CE – it had shorter battery runtime but offered a better display and surprisingly better keyboard.

Although both are small devices, their target use case was always totally different. One was an exceptional device for taking quick notes, the other one was not so good for text input but offered ability to run full-blown PC software… and that was a big thing back then. If you want to better understand the internal architecture of the Toshiba Libretto 70CT, check the full article here on retro.swarm.cz.

2 thoughts on “Small portables: Libretto and PSION 5MX”

  1. Sabina Zelená.

    Very nice,i was almost about to search for it on eBay,Aukro,etc.,but the absence of almost any port on the body discouraged me,PS/2 is not even on the port replicator & to have @ least a serial mouse would require to have the port replicator everywhere with it…For keyboard only DOS apps it may be good,but what I play most often under DOS,is SimCity 1,Gordikon,Bahn & Commander Keen,Cosmo,Biomenace,etc.,from which SimCity 1,Gordikon & Bahn requires a mouse,thus always have the port replicator & clean the wheel mouse every hour,as no PS/2 means no optical mouse,but for playing Commander Keen,or Biomenace,etc.everywhere sure better,than a tablet/smartphone version.It is sad,such devices development was discontinued to favor tablets & smartphones,i miss physical keyboard on today’s mobile devices,i would wish such tiny laptops instead of tablets available for contemporary use,mostly for e-mailing.
    A tiny laptop with x86 architecture & SIM slot & real keyboard would be adorable.I dislike devices of ARM-architecture,because I cannot add a DOS partition for gaming,thus I would wish the evolution of tiny laptops to continue[which for me means to continue with physical keyboards & x86 Legacy architecture,thus something such tiny,but able to multiboot Windows 7(desktop version,not mobile) & DOS/Windows 3.1(1)].

    1. I am afraid that the current x86 devices are useless after they got rid of the BIOS compatibility mode (cca 2020). Thus, if it’s a modern device, it does not matter if it’s ARM or x86. Neither can run DOS natively.

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