[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sharp Wizard 9600

February 17th, 2014 by Benj Edwards

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In the early 1990s, a kid in my neighborhood had his own Sharp Wizard (we all thought he was rich or spoiled — probably both), and it was one of the most incredible things I’d ever seen. It was a tiny electronic organizer with a full QWERTY keyboard that one could have mistaken for a pocket-sized PC.

That same kid later offered to sell his Wizard to me, but my dad turned him down because he was asking too much. So I’ve never had a Wizard of any model in my collection. I did buy a NES advantage from him for $7 though.

[ From Scientific American, February 1993, p.19]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the smallest device (from the pre-smartphone era) you’ve ever used for word processing?

11 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Sharp Wizard 9600”

  1. arlandi Says:

    well, it may not come from the pre-smartphone era, but the smallest device i ever use for word processing was the HP Jornada 720 (iirc).
    too bad it’s screen has died..

  2. dhpenn Says:

    Wow. Had no idea there was portable touchscreen tech like that so early. As for the question: a Brother standalone word processor that I lugged to college with me in 1992. For the life of me, I can’t remember whether it had a floppy drive or kept files in internal memory.

  3. Jay Says:

    I did some moderate typing out of documents on an old HP Jornada Pocket PC back in the early 2000s. Drawing out one letter at a time, Palm Graffiti-style, on that little screen… was not fun. But it was available when I needed to scrawl notes to myself. I think I still have some of the documents I wrote that way.

  4. technotreegrass Says:

    Love the folder organization menu on the screen. That would be a neat retro skin for organizing personal files on a tablet.

  5. Brad Neuberg Says:

    It’s strange to see how much the UI actually looks like HyperCard stacks. I wonder if the folks who created that UI had some connection to the HyperCard project at Apple in the 80s?

  6. SirFatty Says:

    The Toshiba Libretto 100CT.. that thing was tiny…

  7. Matt Says:

    I had a Franklin personal planner that could do really limited documents. It fit it your pocket and looked a lot like the Wizard in a thin metal clamshell case. It couldn’t print though.

  8. Jordan Says:

    I could never stand to write on anything that small, but I did look at documents on my Palm Tungsten E. That thing is a worthless piece of junk now; 2004 seems like 200 years ago.

    I still love using pencil & paper.

    Great blog, Benj. Love it.

  9. Daniel Says:

    I remember taking notes on an Apple Messagepad 120 (or was it 160?) I can’t remember (it was the one with the blue backlit LCD display) in some of my classes at College. I had an external keyboard connected to it. The other students were amazed at this device at the time. This was many years before tablets became common.

  10. greg Says:

    We used some Psion handhelds at school in the 90’s. Everyone wanted one but only a select few pupils could afford them.


  11. Mark Says:

    I used (and still have) an HP 200LX palmtop for database, word processing and contact storage for years.

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