The first Epoc clone computer.
Launched on 31st October 1997, I had a good look at one at Comdex 1997, and had talks with Geofox staff. This EPOC32 based system is a Psion 5 workalike, with many interesting features that in some areas are superior to the Psion 5. In particular, lack of a touch screen ensures the display is clearer than the Psion 5. It is also the largest palmtop display, and the most readable, at 640 x 320 pixels. This made the Geofox more the size of a paperback book rather than pocket sized, but it is still a light weight package, midsize between a pocket computer and a small notebook.
If Geofox had been willing to part with an early model at Comdex, I'd have bought one instantly (I'd just bought a Psion 5 at the same show). Much more suited to browsing the web than the Psion, but not as pocketable.
Geofox went into liquidation on 3 November 1998, having sold about 10% of the numbers called for by its business plan. Sales for the year were around 1000, when the hoped for 10,000. As far as I know, they sold only via the web site.
- 32 bit 18.432MHz Cirrus Logic ARM CL-PS7100 CPU
- Touch sensitive 640 x 320 display with electro luminescent backlit with 16 grey scale. 0.24 dot pitch. 6.8" diagonal display. Multi level zoom.
- Weight, Size, Power
- 390 grams, or 13.7 ounces. 187mmx120mmx20mm (7.4"x4.7"x0.75"). Two AA alkaline batteries, up to 25 hours usage (excluding backlight, PC Card), standby up to 3 months, CR2032 3 volt Lithium backup cell. External 9V DC 1.1A power supply in the professional models is universal voltage compatible for use anywhere.
- 8MB mask page mode ROM, either 4 or 16MB ram. Additional Compact flash slot.
- Keyboard and Mouse
- 94 key elastomeric with 14mm separation, hot keys for applications, calculator numeric. Integrated Glide Point mouse
- Microphone and speaker, 8 bit.
- 115kbps RS232C serial port. 115kbps IrDA infrared port direct to printer.
- PC Card
- One Type I or Type II
- 3 year limited hardware warranty.
- Word Processor
- Multiple fonts, bold, italics, bullets, borders, etc. Paragraph styles. Embed sketches, spreadsheets, sounds. Spelling checker. Zoom display. WYSIWYG. Password protect files.
- Text formatting similar to word processor, auto-sum, 100 functions, zoom, seven chart types including 3D. Up to 16 row by 17 columns visible.
- Unlike Windows CE, you get printing support for numerous printers, via cable or IrDA infrared, or via Windows using True Type fonts. Print preview multiple pages at a time.
- Time management, with day, week, month and year views and alarms. Attach notes, sketches, sound. To-do items.
- Card view of records, list view of multiple records, embed sketches, sound or objects, sort.
- Record voice and sounds, even with case closed. Store 2 minutes per megabyte with compression, up to 4 minutes with ADPCM.
- Four function with "tape". Scientific, multi function, with ten memories. Use touch pad if desired.
- Select sounds or recordings for alarms, local times in 700 locations, add your own. Flexible multiple alarms. Daylight saving.
- Bombs and chess.
- Route Planner
- Both US and UK versions.
- Message Suite, POP3 email, fax. www browser, terminal
- PC Docking
- Serial cable. Windows 95/NT PsiWin2 conversion program included, Psion appears as an icon in Windows.
- Programming language
- OPL built in.
- VT100 and TTY terminal emulation, ASCII, Xmodem, Ymodem protocols. Fax, web browser, email. You do need to run off the mains power when using a PCCard modem, because battery life with most modems is in the order of 20-30 minutes.
Geofox were selling direct rather than through shops, and had offices in USA and UK. They were founded in 1996 by CEO George Gray, who also founded Tadpole Technology in 1984. Chairman was Andy Davis, a founder of Spider Systems, a LAN company. Noel Poore, formerly software manager for PC and DEC Alpha at Tadpole Technology, was Director of Engineering. President was Randy Burns, formerly president of Tadpole.