Over at Technologizer, Harry McCracken has unearthed a wonderful 1994 video by something called the Knight-Ridder Information Design Lab on the electronic tablet newspaper of the future. It had many of the features being speculated about in the Apple iWhatever expected next week, and the newspaper demo, with its interactive maps and embedded video, bore a striking resemblance to prototypes recently shown by Sports Illustrated and others.
The thing I wonder about is what on earth is the device they demonstrate in the video? They describe it as weighing about two pounds and it looks to be about an inch thick with a screen of about 11″ that is vibrantly colorful in bright sunlight. In other words, something that might have been a mild sensation had it been shown as CES earlier this month. It is all the more remarkable when you consider that the hot laptop of 1994, the IBM ThinkPad 755c, had an Intel 486 processor, a 10.4″ screen capable of displaying 256 colors, and no built-in networking (this was five years before anyone heard of Wi-Fi).
Was it just some sort of mock-up, brought to life through the wonders of post-production? Of course, we can’t ask the Information Design Lab, because it and Knight-Ridder itself are now dust in the wind.