Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sharp PC-3000: The iPad Killer

My daughter will be a teenager soon. Many of her classmates and friends have smartphones and portable media devices like an iPad. Not wanting my daughter to feel left out by her peers, I looked deep within my heart and deep within my wallet and decided to give her the best. I found the answer up in our attic in the bottom of a long-forgotten box.

I couldn’t wait to see my daughter’s happiness, so I surprised her with my early birthday present. She unwrapped the box and her eyes and face said it all. She was speechless. Tears of joy ran down her rosy cheeks. She shrieked with excitement and ran from the room. I heard a long, wailing cry of jubilation coming from her bedroom.

I looked down at the opened box and smiled. Sitting there, in all its pristine condition, was the Sharp PC-3000. It was beautiful. Honestly, I felt a little jealous that my daughter would now be in control of this monster. Chock full of cutting-edge technology, I knew I was staring at an iPad killer.

Let me break this beast down for you:

The outer shell is a charcoal gray and feels strong and heavy. This baby weighs in at a full one and a half pounds...just bursting with bells and whistles. It even has a clickable latch to flip the screen open. The 10 megahertz processor is as speedy as they come, and the 128 kilobytes of RAM has more than enough space to run the most demanding applications.

Easily compatible with other devices, my daughter can work on the PC-3000 while listening to the newest music by using a radio, CD player, or just humming to herself. The Internet is a just simple click away, on separate Internet-ready device.

The PC-3000 is bulging with a total of eight pre-installed applications. Sharp thought of everything that a teenager might want to use on a smartphone and put it in. The clock, calculator, and text editor applications deserve special mentioning here. The clock will keep accurate time to within the hour, provided you manually update it every morning, while the calculator allows my daughter to have all the power of addition and subtraction at her fingertips. The editor allows creation of text documents up to 500 words long, assuming all the words are six letters or shorter. It’ll be months before my daughter discovers all the possibilities.

Another wonderful feature is the battery life. Using the tried and true technology of the 1950’s, the PC-3000 incorporates three AA batteries to provide almost two full hours of use before needing to replace a battery. A word of caution, though—if you attach any external device to the serial or parallel ports, the batteries do tend to wear out faster.

The mono-chromatic screen prevents any unwanted eye strain and the 128,000 pixel resolution will trick my daughter into thinking she’s living in the future. The PC-3000 includes a patented hardware noise, best described as a constant low-level whine that your ears can’t ignore, which forces the user to stay on task.

The last thing worth mentioning is the QWERTY keyboard that comes standard on all PC-3000 devices. The keyboard is mildly responsive and the smooth keys feel cold and lifeless. Amazingly, the keyboard even includes the numbers 0 through 9. Unfortunately, the space bar doesn't come standard, only as a separate add-on. So, I have to recommend buying the small but pricey space bar, since it allows greater freedom when typing.

Well, it’s been three days since my daughter received her early birthday gift. She’s been so infatuated with the PC-3000 that she hasn’t had time to say one word to me or even look me in the eye. She’s been holed up in her room, probably writing letters to her friends with pencil and paper. Well, that's just fine with me, since I get more time with this perfect machine.

I thought kids these days loved technology...


  1. I sense the beginning of a new kids' horror story.

    Thanks for sharing, and good luck to the girl!

  2. Yeah, for some kids in the world, this would be a horror story. ;)

  3. In fact I can´t find this "ironic" comparison very funny -> The spectrum of functionality of the PC-3000 depends on the abilities of its user.
    An iPad/iPhone/smartphone demands no abilities -> everyone can touch big funny coloured icons and buttons :) ....

  4. i love this thing !
    i learned the transition from an msx computer without disks to using DOS-like operating systems with it !
    the keyboard + screen has NEVER since this thing been as user friendly ... except maybe the palmax PD-1000 Plus MiniNotebook PC, which had a 640x480 vga screen
    neither of mine still work, but i also got a sharp pc7100 which still does work... it only weighs about 8 kilograms...

  5. "in the bottom of a long-forgotten box ... in all its pristine condition" Hmm... That's a wrong machine to a wrong owner.

    Mine was beaten up, will all its rubberised coating rubbed off, after a few years use. We didn't have internet thence; we use an external 2,400 baud telephone modem. On battery life, very few machines could be put instantly into and out of sleep mode like the PC3k at that time. BTW, I had a 10 MB Sundisk (now Sandisk) in PCMCIA (now PC Card) format, which cost me some 500 USD.

  6. Great parody!

    I actually worked on the development of this machine for a little bit and it seemed so cool back in 1991.

    1. Allan - that is awesome. What was your job and what part did you work on?