The Psion Series 5 line of PDAs released in the late 90s looked like tiny laptop computers, complete with QWERTY keyboards laid out in a way that even let you touch-type on a device small enough to fold in half and put in your pocket.

While they never really became as popular as the smartphones, tablets, and other portable computing devices that launched in the years to come, they developed a cult following and some folks still collect them… or try to find new uses for old ones. Case in point: Kian Ryan figured out how to get a Raspberry PI Zero to communicate with a Psion Series 5mx, effectively turning it into a retro device with support for running modern Linux software.

Kian Ryan

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  1. Oh. I thought that MX5 mod was self contained… This is much less interesting, basically a serial connection and a telnet client. On these grounds my IBM 3151 terminal is a supercomputer since I can just SSH into it. Now I’m not that keen on gutting a perfectly fine retro machine, so I think the MX5 has a CF slot. Try to squeeze a small linux SBC there and connect to that! With the added bandwidth maybe try to run an X.org client too and an X-server on the SBC to get a GUI! Also WiFi.