Snippet: Drop Everything and Go Watch Springboard ☇

Shared on January 12, 2022

I was recently listening to the most recent episode of John Gruber’s podcast, The Talk Show, and The Verge’s Dieter Bohn was a guest talking about a new half-hour documentary. I missed it when it was posted about a month ago, but it’s now available on The Verge’s app, as well as their YouTube channel:

In 1998, Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins quit Palm, a company they’d founded, to begin a new one: Handspring. They had a simple goal in mind: to eventually create the smartphone. Years before any of the technology was actually ready, their tiny startup began laying the necessary groundwork for what would become the Treo.

In Springboard: the secret history of the first real smartphone, we document the history of Handspring, from its dramatic beginnings to its tragic end. Along the way, we hear from five of the key players who tried to invent the modern smartphone years before the technology world was ready for it. It’s a story that interweaves the dotcom crash, technological innovations, wireless carrier resistance, and much more.

This brought back a lot of memories for me, but even if you were unfamiliar with PalmOS, Handspring, the Treo, or that whole time period in tech, it’s a fun viewing.

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