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The First Laptop

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a b D Laptop
June 10, 2010 6:36:30 AM

I was a bit curious earlier in regard to what the first "laptop" computer was and who invented it, so I did a bit of digging. Evidently, the first laptop commercial laptop was the "Osborne 1," which was invented by the Osborne Computer Corporation in 1981. In 1981 terms, this hulk of a laptop weighing 24.5lbs priced out at $1,795. Specwise, it came with a Zilog 4MHz CPU, 64K of RAM, a 5 inch monitor, and 2 5 and a quarter inch floppy drives. As you will see if you click on the link below, it basically looks like a fancy electric typewriter, but hey, we had to start somewhere.

Check it out:
http://oldcomputers.net/osborne.html

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a b D Laptop
June 10, 2010 7:41:55 AM

The Osborne definitely wasn't a laptop as it had a separate keyboard and no battery.

It was described at the time as portable but the more realistic "luggable" soon became the term of choice for the IBM and Compaq products that also appeared.

The first popular laptop was probably a Radio Shack thingie that had no drives and a small Liguid Crystal screen. It was really a pad and proved useful to reporters.

The first computer I seem to remember that resembled current laptops -- fold-up screen/lid, floppy (and, later, hard drive) came from IBM, Toshiba, maybe Epson.
June 10, 2010 10:57:00 PM

Yeah Osborne was definitely not a laptop, you might be able to put it on your lap, but so could I with an Apple II, TRS-80 or even IBM PC original.

First thing that even looked like a Laptop I had was a different type of convertible that one could almost pretend was a laptop (I think this is the one Fihart remembers);
http://oldcomputers.net/ibm5140.html





First truer laptop I owned was a PS/2 Model 30 Note (still have that in storage at the cottage);
http://www.obsolete-tears.com/ibm-ps2-note-machine-63.h...

But for title of first laptop that would be the Xerox Dynabook which predates alot of desktop PCs, and even the concept of PCs;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynabook

We also had other things like small computer like / calculator-like devices from Tandy and Psion, owned a few of those, all that would be easily laptop-usable prior to the first PC in the current laptop form.
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a b D Laptop
June 11, 2010 1:25:43 AM

Well, I was going for "laptop" in an age old sense, i.e. a portable computer. I guess I should have been more specific. Never the less, it's amazing how things have progressed from suped up typewriter looking machines to the laptops, netbooks, tablets, etc... that we have today.
June 11, 2010 7:35:32 PM

Take a look at that Dynabook, it almost looks like a Kindle and that was the 1970s, eh!

That's pretty impressive considering how many iterations we've had in the meantime.
a b D Laptop
June 11, 2010 10:14:28 PM

Heck, it was 1968 (same difference) and it does look a lot like the e-readers that we are seeing today. I wish some would take on the full keyboard like the Dynabook had, but then they'd look like a large Blackberry. Needless to say, the Dynabook appears to have been ahead of its time by 40 years or so.
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