Designed World’s First PocketPC – DIP

Distributed Information Processing Ltd (DIP) was started in 1986 by ex-Psion employees (D)avid Frodsham, (I)an Cullimore and (P)eter Baldwin – hence the DIP name.

The company was started before there was a tech scene in London so we were competing for funding with hotel chains and stud farms.  After 6 months of bootstrapping we obtained investment from renowned UK business leaders Herman Hauser and Sir Kenneth Corfield

The DIP engineers created the complete PocketPC technology from scratch:

  • At the time, PCs cost $3000+, weighed over 20 pounds. The DIP technology enabled $300 one pound portable devices powered by 3 * AA batteries
  • To do this required the writing of a complete ROM executable PC software stack including BIOS, Operating System (compatible with Microsoft MS-DOS)
    plus suite of Personal Information Management (PIM) software including a Lotus1-2-3 compatible spreadsheet
  • The PC compatible hardware including custom ASIC and unique interface technologies.

DIP created a short production run of working prototypes and after some Asian manufacturing discussions, decided to license the design to Atari.

Atari manufactured the initial product in Japan and launched the Atari Portfolio which DIP also sold as DIP PocketPC.  This came to market 7 years before the Palm Pilot, Microsoft PocketPC and Apple Newton

DIPPocketPCand AtariPortfolio
MOVIE TRIVIA. The Pocket PC appears in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where it is used by the young John Connor to hack an ATM hack with a ribbon cable connecting the parallel interface.

In 1989, Peter started the DIP subsidiary, DIP Systems, as UK’s largest specialist distributor of Hand-Held & Pocket Computers.
As part of the DIP Board and on the executive team of DIP Research, Peter furthered the technology and helped create a 100% PC compatible
(software & hardware) which ran all PC Apps. The first product that used this was the Sharp PC3000.

In 1992, DIP Research signed a strategic development relationship with Phoenix Technologies (NASDAQ: PTEC) and Peter came out to San Jose to run this joint business. It went so well that PTEC decided to buy DIP Research in 1993. After the acquisition, Peter
stayed with PTEC in Silicon Valley and ran the Phoenix non-PC business, growing it from $0 to over 20% of revenues.