PalmOS devices may look incredibly antiquated now, but the PalmPilot and Handspring Visor had one major advantage over modern smartphones: They didn’t have a Twitter app. Unfortunately, Jorge Cohen has just changed that with a PalmOS Twitter app that brings doomscrolling to these 24-year-old devices.
The original PalmPilot was released by U.S. Robotics in March of 1997, nine years before Twitter revolutionised how we share opinions online and terrorize those that disagree with them. The PalmPilot and other PDAs that would would follow in its footsteps, including the Handspring Visor, were primarily designed as productivity tools, making schedules and email available while you were away from your computer, even before the BlackBerry hit the scene to stretch the work day well past quitting time.
Cohen’s PalmOS Twitter app comes decades after most of us tossed our PalmOS devices in a drawer to be forgotten, but while it’s a work in progress, even the version they demonstrated on Twitter yesterday looks better than what we’re currently stuck with on iOS and Android.
As Cohen later explains, their PalmOS Twitter app currently lacks the ability to like tweets, or even the ability to post new tweets, which actually sounds like a solid upgrade. It also works quite differently than the Twitter apps on modern devices, which can be continually refreshed to instantly grab the latest updates. Devices like the PalmPilot and Visor didn’t have wifi or 5G built in and could only send and receive emails, calendar updates, and other information when physically docked and synced with a computer. It was barbaric, and in hindsight, wonderful.
If you’re commuting to work and come across a tweet on your PalmPilot that enrages you, you can’t immediately send out an angry response or a passive-aggressive subtweet until you get to the office. You’re forced to actually think it through for a few minutes, and come to the realisation that it’s really not worth responding to or acknowledging. A version of Twitter for iOS and Android with the limitations of Cohen’s PalmOS version might be just what we need right now.