Designing Interactions

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Chapter 3 – From the Desk to the Palm

Interviews with John Ellenby, Jeff Hawkins, Bert Keely, Rob Haitani, and Dennis Boyle

John Ellenby founded GRiD Computer Systems in 1980 to develop Compass, the first laptop, complete with power supply, modem, bubble memory, full keyboard and graphic display, and designed to fit in half a briefcase. Jeff Hawkins joined GRiD, and developed GRiDPad, the first tablet computer to reach the market. Bert Keely is the architect of tablet PCs at Microsoft, leading efforts to advance the designs, and promoting a tablet mode that allows people to easily use the machine with one hand.

Jeff Hawkins went on to create the palmtop, founding Palm and Handspring, and leading the team that created the Palm operating system and developing the series of PalmPilots that were so successful. Rob Haitani was a key member of Jeff ’s team right from the beginning and was in charge of the interaction design for the Palm operating sytem and its applications. Jeff also brought in Dennis Boyle to develop the Palm V, a design that was attractive enough to dramatically increase the popularity of electronic organizers, and continued to work with Dennis for a series of products at Handspring.

Acer TravelMate C200 Tablet PC. <em>Photo</em> Nicolas Zurcher

Acer TravelMate C200 Tablet PC. Photo Nicolas Zurcher