Here’s how to turn your smartphone into a 1996 Palm Pilot

Ecco come trasformare il vostro smartphone in un Palm Pilot del 1996 thumbnail

The Internet Archive gives those nostalgic for “pre-iPhone” technology a unique opportunity: you can transform your smartphone into a Palm Pilot, the handheld from 1996. A forerunner of modern smartphone operating systems, complete with games such as Dope Wars. All the 565 apps on Palm OS they are accessible from any browser. For those who want to take a leap into the past.

The Internet Archive turns your smartphone into a 1996 Palm Pilot

On the radios (Spotify wasn’t an option yet) the Macarena. At the cinema you could see Indipendence Day or the first Mission Impossible. And in your pocket, if you were on the cutting edge of technology, you had a Palm Pilot.

A PDA, the forerunner of the smartphone. Which must be used with a dedicated nib. But it had enormous potential: you can use the calculatoril block notes. If you felt like an artist you could draw in black and white with Graffiti. And above all, you could play a Dope Warsone of the very first mobile games.

And not only. In fact, there are 565 Palm OS apps that the developer Jason Scott resulted in emulation on the Internet Archive. You can use it through any browser, even that of your smartphone: making it go back in time in a pre-iphone era.

For those who love the history of technology

Jason Scott explained to The Verge’s Sean Hollister (who also shot the cover photography) that it took him about six months to bring the CloudPilot emulator (developed by Christian Speckner) on the browser. No software to download, everything directly from the browser. Something that makes the conservation work that several developers have done over the years more accessible, for “keep alive” this operating system.

palm pilot internet archive min

It was with these devices that began what we know today as the “app economy”where a mobile software maker can succeed. It all started in black and white, on a device that couldn’t connect to the cloud as easily as we do today.

If you want to personally test applications, games, widgets and more, sampling a bit of the history of technology, you just need a browser to access this address. You will find yourself in 1996. No need to learn the steps of the Macarena.