"I don’t know the actual introduction date for the first Windows CE devices. But, I always considered their launch at Fall Comdex 1996 to be their public introduction. The original devices were pretty spartan by even my 1996 standards. So, I waited until early 1997 to buy my first Windows CE device: An HP 320LX Handheld PC. It was a step up from HP’x 300LX. The 320LX had 4MB RAM (compared to the 300LX’s 2MB), a backlit screen, and a CompactFlash slot as well as a PC Card slot. Unlike other Handheld PC, it also had a 640×240 grayscale (greenscale) screen. It was a great device and as you can see from the photos here, it still works! HP engineers really built stuff to last back then (I have a few choice words about the iPAQ line HP inherited from their Compaq merger in some other blog entry). I just stuck in a fresh pair of AA batteries and the HP 320LX fired up. Even the backlight still works fine."
Todd Ogasawara's article is a great blast from the past - it's amazing that Windows Mobile (Windows CE) is 10 years old now. I have vivid memories of reading reviews of the first generation handheld PCs in a magazine called boot
(now Maximum PC, and still the only computer magazine worth reading), and selecting the Philips Velo 1 as the device for me (it received the only "A" rating of the round-up if memory serves). I ordered it from the USA, and by the time it came with all taxes, shipping, and dollar conversions, it cost me about $1500 Canadian ($1350 USD). It was worth it though, I loved the device - until the hinge broke...again and again. Speaking of blasts from the Windows CE past, look how time flies. I also find it darkly amusing that no Windows Mobile device can do what I need yet with appointment reminders, even after all these years. I'm still hunting for a Velo 1 on eBay to reclaim some of the original glory...