Definition of Laptop:
A laptop computer, or simply laptop (also known as notebook computer, notebook, notepad, and incorrectly labtop, is a small portable computer having its main components (Processor, screen, keyboard) built into a single unit capable of battery powered operation, which usually weighs 2-18 pounds (approximately 1 to 8 kgs), depending on dimensions, materials, and other variables. (Source: Wikipedia)

It is debatable what the first notebook or laptop computer was. The first laptops did not look like the clamshell desings that are known to us today. Outlined below are some computers that are classified as the first portable computer (laptop).

The First Laptop Computer 1981: Osborne 1

The Osborne 1 was accepted as the first true mobile computer (laptop, notebook) by most historians. Adam Osborne, an ex-book publisher founded Osborne Computer and formed the Osborne 1 in 1981. This was a mobile computer (laptop, notebook) weighed close to 11kgs and a cost of US$1795. The Osborne 1 had a five-inch screen, incorporating a modem port, two 5 1/4 floppy drives, a big collection of bundled software applications, and a battery pack. The computer company was a failure and did not last for very long.

The Osborne 1 Mobile Computer (Laptop, Notebook) Features:

Release Date:
April 1981
US $1,795
24.5 pounds
Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
64K Memory
Built-in 5" monitor
53 X 24 text, Parallel / IEEE-488, modem / serial port
Dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives

1981 - Epson HX-20 Mobile Computer
(Laptop, Notebook)

The Epson HX-20 battery powered mobile computer (laptop, notebook) was released in 1981. This Mobile Computer had a 20-character by 4 line LCD display and a integrated printer. It was an A4-sized computer weighing less than 4lb, with a full-size keyboard, integrated display and printer. Epson during that time planned its launch in the UK, priced below 1500. The Epson could run independently of AC power for 50 hours using its built-in NiCad battery cells which needed appoximately eight hours fully recharge. The integrated inked-ribbon matrix printer was capable of printing graphics and upper- or lower-case characters on to plain paper rolls.

The space to the right of the screen could have either been used by either a micro cassette drive for application or information storage or a plug in ROM cartridge. The Epson came with 32K of ROM which had Microsoft Basic and the O/S loaded, and 16K of RAM. An optional expansion unit which clips on the side of the case can hold an extra 16K of RAM and 32K of ROM.

1983 - Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 Mobile Computer
(Laptop, Notebook)

In 1983, Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 100 Mobile Computer (laptop, notebook), a 4 lb. battery operated computer with a flat and more of a laptop design. The Tandy 100 was a computer made in Japan by Kyocera. All the ROM programs were written by Microsoft, and even a few of them were written by Bill Gates himself. These programs included a text editor, a telecommunication progam, which uses the built-in modem (300 baud), and BASIC. The operating system uses 3130 bytes of the 8 KB Memory. The CMOS Processor (80c85) allows to use the Tandy 100 for 20 hours with only 4 AA batteries (5 days at 4 hours/day or 20 days at 1 hour/day).Its Processor was also used on the Mars Pathfinder probe's Sojourner rover!

The Radio shack TRS-80 Model 100 mobile computer

(Laptop, notebook) Features

Intel 80c85 (code and pin compatible with 8085)
3 MHz
8 kb, up to 32 KB (29638 bytes free) by incremental 8 kb Memory pack on PCB
32 kb (up to 64 kb)
Text Modes:
40 x 8 (LCD screen)
Graphic Modes:
240 x 64 (Full-Dot matrix)
30 (w) x 21.5 (D) x 4.5 (H) cm.

1984 - IBM 5155

In February 1984, IBM announced the IBM 5155 Portable Personal Computer (laptop, notebook). This Portable PC was IBM's first carry around computer. It required AC power to be plugged in to work and weighed 13.6Kgs. IBM would seize manufacturing the 5155 laptop in April 1986.

1984 - PHOTO: HP 110

PHOTO: HP 110 portable computer clamshell laptop design introduced in 1984 became the standard configuration for portable computers.

The HP 110 portable computer was designed in parallel with the HP IPC (HP Integral PC) transportable computer at the HP Corvallis, Oregon division between 1982 and 1984 after the successful introduction in 1980 of the small desktop HP 85 BASIC programmable PC with a 5-inch CRT graphical display and built-in thermal printer.

1990 - Atari Stacy

Behold the Atari Stacy portable computer. Originally designed to run on 12 "C" batteries, this early laptop came out the same year as the first Mac Portable.

Originally designed to operate on 12 standard C cell flashlight batteries, this proved insuffient to operate the Stacy for an extended period of time. With 4Megs of RAM and a hard drive, 15 minutes of use was about all the life the batteries could give you. Additionally, the 15 pound / 7 kg Stacy with external power-pack is somewhat inconvenient to lug around.

Apple was also working on a portable version of their best computer, the Macintosh. Their Mac Portable was released in 1989, with many similarities to the Stacy, except that the Macintosh Portable cost 3-times as much. A solution - run the Macintosh emulator Spectre on your Stacy for a cheaper (and faster!) portable macintosh computer.

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