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The Cybiko Classic and Xtreme are wireless handheld computers that were marketed towards teens around the turn of the millennium.  I first bought two Classics "for my kids" at the local X-mart for $99 each and then proceeded to purchase several at $60 each directly from the company before Cybikos were sold off  at clearance stores for $30.  You can still find a few at auction on the internet mostly for the price of shipping.  Just be careful not to purchase a European model for the Americas and vice versa if you want two to talk to each other.  What attracted me to them is that they were the first handheld wireless computers that I could afford, that came with hundreds of free games, e-mail, mp3 player and a free software development kit.  In this "day and age" of companies that sue each other for patents of the interface of a simple mp3 player and that are barely incorporating wireless functionality, the Cybiko has it all, including a keyboard.  It was "a dream come true" for the wireless Socratic classroom!  Unfortunately with the demise of the company, the e-mail, mp3 player and games are no longer available.

Cybiko Classic Gold

The Classic

The name Classic was assigned to the Cybiko after the Xtreme came out.  The Classic operates at 11 MHz.  People don't realize that until recently most Palm PDAs (and calculators) worked close to this speed and yet they still paid hundreds of dollars for less functionality.  Its major flaw is the easily pressed on/off button that allows the Classic to be discharged in transit.  The batteries also are easily ruined if you charge the Cybiko with the power turned off.  In most cases the oxide can be filed off from the batteries and terminals to fix this.  It also would have been nice to have a touch screen to make drawing easier.  In terms of programmability, the CyOS does wireless wonders using the free Cybiko C compiler.
Cybiko Xtreme

The Xtreme (CY44801)

The Xtreme is reported to work at 18-22 MHz. The Xtreme does not have the switch and battery problems of the Classic and also has a larger keyboard.  It is so much nicer than the Classic that I purchased a few of these "for my kids" though one Classic is still required to program and connect other Cybikos to a PC through a serial port.  It has been reported more than once that one Cybiko cannot communicate with more than 25 Cybikos effectively.  Having close to sixty Cybikos for my classes, I know this to be true but there are ways around this problem.


Monday, March 30, 2009

jsal at utep dot edu