InventorsHistory of Laptop
Computers - History
- Modern Laptop Today
It is a little hard to determine what was the first portable
or laptop computer, the first portable computers did not look like the
book-sized and folding laptops that we are familiar with today, however, they
were both portable and lapable, and lead to the development of notebook style
laptops. I have outlined several potential firsts below and how each qualifies,
many of the off-site links provide good photos of the computers that will let
you see the progression in design.
Designed in 1979 by a Briton, William
Moggridge, for Grid Systems Corporation, the Grid Compass was one fifth
the weight of any model equivalent in performance and was used by NASA
on the space shuttle program in the early 1980's. A 340K byte bubble memory
lap-top computer with die-cast magnesium case and folding electroluminescent
graphics display screen.
Gavilan Computer As The First
Laptop? Manny Fernandez had the idea for
a well-designed laptop for executives who were starting to use computer.
Fernandez, who started Gavilan Computer, promoted his machines as the first
"laptop" computers in May 1983. Many historians consider the Gavilan as the
first fully functional laptop computer.
The First Laptop Computer - Osborne
The computer considered by most historians to be the first true portable
computer was the Osborne 1. Adam Osborne, an ex-book publisher founded Osborne
Computer and produced the Osborne 1 in 1981, a portable computer that weighed 24
pounds and cost $1795. The Osborne 1 came with a five-inch screen, modem port,
two 5 1/4 floppy drives, a large collection of bundled software programs, and a
battery pack. The short-lived computer company was never successful. (second
More History of Laptop Firsts
Also released in 1981, was the Epson
HX-20, a battery powered portable computer, with a 20-character by 4
line LCD display and a built-in printer.
In January of 1982, Microsoft's Kazuhiko
Nishi and Bill
Gates begin discussions on designing a portable computer, based on using
a new liquid crystal display or LCD
Nishi later showed the prototype to Radio Shack who agree to manufacture
In 1983, Radio Shack released the TRS-80
Model 100, a 4 lb. battery operated portable computer with a flat and
more of a laptop design.
In February 1984, IBM announced the IBM
5155 Portable Personal Computer.
Three years later in 1986, Radio Shack
released the improved and smaller TRS
In 1988, Compaq Computer introduces its
first laptop PC with VGA graphics - the Compaq
In 1989, NEC
UltraLite was released, considered by some to be the first
"notebook style" computer. It was a laptop size computer which
weighed under 5 lbs. (second