Operating System: Magic Cap 3 (Rosemary)

Pros: Manly paint job. Same fit and finish as PIC1000, but custom second-gen guts inside.

Cons: Same awful screen as as PIC1000.


Sputnik is distinctive, you must give it that. There were two color schemes: pink and purple. The custom was that pink ones ran the US English build of Magic Cap, whereas purple ran the Japan build. I don’t know if the colors were meant to challenge the masculinity of certain Magic Cap engineers, or just to dissuade people from stealing them. In either case, I think it worked.

The reason for using PIC1000 plastics and screens was simple: for small production runs (hundred or so), it’s cheaper to buy PIC1000s and rip the motherboard out than to custom-make plastics. (Plastics are often the chief cost of a device, and easily so for small quantities.) Unfortunately, the screen was also reused, but remember this device was only meant to be used in the well-lit General Magic office.

Sputnik proved to be a durable testing ground as Rosemary was being developed. Sputniks took all kinds of physical abuse, had their hardware modified, their ROMs reflashed zillions of times, but they took it all and held up amazingly well.