First Laptop

Invention of First Laptop Computer

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Who Invented the First Laptop?

Among the most innovative pieces of technology ever invented for both commercial and personal use is the laptop. Highly versatile and compact, the laptop has made computer use as easy and convenient as possible.

With such a state-of-the-art piece of technology, you may be wondering about its history, and what genius came up with it.

 

Laptop Inventor: Adam Osborne (They are still selling on ebay)

The first laptop was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981. Dubbed the ‘Osborne 1’, it cost a whopping $1,795 to purchase, and came with $1,500 worth of programs.

Unlike the laptops we’re used to seeing today, the first laptop’s screen was tiny. In fact, it made up a fraction of the entire laptop at 5”, with the hardware taking up plenty of space. It weighed 25.5 pounds, and featured 64K of memory.

Here are some of the features of this very first laptop:

Release Date: April 1981
Cost: US $1,795
Weight: 24.5 lbs
Processor: Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
Memory: 64K Memory
Display: 5″ monitor
Ports: 53 X 24 text, Parallel / IEEE-488, modem / serial port
Storage: Dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives
O/S: CP/M

 

Epson HX-20 Mobile Computer

The Osborne Computer company that inventor Adam Osborne founded did not last long, and as such, the Osborne 1 didn’t last that much longer either.

Later on in 1981, the Epson HX-20 Mobile Computer was developed, and was a battery-powered mobile computer that featured a 20-character by 4 line LCD display and printer. While the screen was still small, the keyboard was full-sized, as compared to the smaller keyboard on the Osborne 1.

The Epson could run on battery for 50 hours with its built-in NiCad batteries. The matrix printer could print graphics and upper- or lower-case characters on plain paper. The Epson came with 32K of ROM and 16K of RAM.

At that time, the Epson was priced under $1,500, slightly less than its predecessor.

 

Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 Mobile Computer

A couple of years after the Osborne 1 and Epson HX-20, Radio Shack came out with its own version of the laptop 1983. The TRS-80 Model 100 Mobile Computer featured a much more modern flat design compared to the previous two models, with a much larger screen. All the ROM programs were developed by Microsoft, which included a text editor, a telecommunication program, and BASIC. It featured 8 KB of memory, and could be used for 20 hours with 4 AA batteries.

 

IBM 5155

One year later in 1984, IBM released the IBM 5155 Portable Personal Computer, the first that could actually be carried around. It needed to be plugged in in order to operate, and weighed 30 pounds. The IBM 5155 didn’t come cheap – it cost a whopping $4,225 to purchase.

 

Zenith Data Systems Laptop

In 1989, Zenith Data Systems came out with the Zenith Minisport, a laptop computer weighing much less than its predecessors at about 6 pounds. Many historians regard the model as one of the early “real” laptops. It featured a 20MB ESDI hard drive, 640K of RAM, and had a color LCD display.

 

Evolution of the Laptop

Over the years, laptops have become smaller, lighter, and more sophisticated. Its storage capabilities have improved, and have become easier to use and set up. Today’s laptops now come with DVD burners, CD-ROM drives, and are more compact and portable than ever before.

Depending on your exact needs, there is a variety of laptops to choose from today. Some laptops are designed to completely replace desktop computers, and come with larger screens and more memory. Other laptops are designed to be more portable, and are typically smaller and feature less memory. Some are used mainly to access the internet, while others are capable of performing on a commercial level. Laptops are available in both Mac and PC formats.

Here are some facts from history in steps:

DateBrief History
1936 Very first programmable computer was invented
1947 Transistor was invented. It was the turning point for all the future inventions
1953 IBM unveiled their first computer.
1955 Computers that could read magnetic ink characters were invented. Also called Bank Computers.
1958 Computer Chip (IC-Integrated computers) were invented by Jack Kilby and Bob Noyce
1962 Starwar games for computer were invented.
 1974 Apple and IBM unveiled first PC (personal computer)
1975Bill Gates designed and improved the first Altair 8000 series
1991 Internet was born (as we know it today).
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