Dell celebrates its 25th anniversary: A look back


Unless you're a technology historian, you may not have realized that Dell celebrated its 25th anniversary this past weekend. No big marketing push or sitewide sale was launched to mark the historic occasion. The May 3rd date came and went with little fanfare. Dell may not want to publicly recognize this milestone but we will use this occasion to take a quick walk down memory lane and reminisce about Dell's contribution to the world of handheld devices.

Almost everyone, even the most novice computer user, equates the name Dell with desktop and notebook computers but how many remember Dell's popular line of Pocket PC handheld devices?

The story begins in 2002 when Dell introduced the Axim X5 Pocket PC for a then low price of $279. Powered by a 300MHz Intel XScale processor and running Microsoft's Pocket PC 2002 OS, the original Axim took on the well-established Compaq iPaq series of handhelds. The boxy and somewhat large X5 was well received, mainly due to its low price tag.

Price isn't everything, however, and the Axim X5 was soon replaced by the lighter and slightly more compact Axim X30 series. With its 624MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor and Windows Mobile 2003 OS, the Axim X30 was, at the time, the fastest Pocket PC on the market.

Dell made Pocket PC history once again when it released the Axim X50 and X51 family of PDAs. Released in 2004 and 2005 respectively, the high-end Axim X50v and X51v shared a similar form factor and sported both a VGA screen and a 624MHz processor. The X50v launched with 128MB of flash ROM and Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition while the X51v got a ROM boost to 256MB and launched with Windows Mobile 5. Sleek, stylish, and fast, the Axim X50/51v was widely successful and attracted a large following of enthusiastic users.

With the advent of the smartphone, the interest in a standalone Pocket PC device waned and sadly the Axim line was EOL'ed by Dell in 2007. The beloved Axim Pocket PC is now relegated to historical status, found only in eBay auctions, garage sales, and dusty drawers, which coincidentally is where my dying X51v is lovingly laid to rest.

We thank Dell for the fond memories and congratulate them on 25 years of success.


This post was written by Kelly Hodgkins, long-time fan of mobile devices and news writer at The Boy Genius Report.

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Pocketables is a US-based online tech magazine that brings news, insights, opinions, and comprehensive reviews on various mobile computing devices, portable technology, and related topics to a global audience. We focus on devices that fit into pockets of all sizes, from jeans and jackets to backpacks and purses. The gadget experts that comprise our staff produce high quality articles and original features colored with real-life use of products over weeks and months, not first-impression opinions formed within hours or days.

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