A brief history of portable computers
The idea for a laptop came as early as the late 1960’s with the Dynabook, but this tablet computer was mainly for kids.
There was no real business incentive to truly develop a portable computer, (and it was thought impractical anyway), so, the laptop wasn’t considered a thing until much later, with new developments in transistors and processors. More than just a kid’s game.
In the early 1980’s the first portable computer was already developed, the Osborne 1 didn’t have any batteries, (it had to be plugged in), but at least the data and the computer could be transferred.
Two years later, in 1982, Compaq computers were released.
It is widely accepted that Compaq was not much better than the Osborn 1 but as it was using the popular new MS-DOS operating system (used on most IBM computers at the time), it proved an instant success.
A year later, Epson announced the first really portable computer with a nickel battery. The Epson was more like an advanced calculator with only 80 characters displayed at a time.
The Compass 1101 was also introduced around the same time to give us the now familiar layout of a laptop with the screen folded and the keyboard closed.
In 1984, the Gavilan SC and Sharp PC-500 entered the market, Gavilan being the first to introduce the concept of a portable computer (and a basic pointing device).
1984 also saw the arrival of the Kyocera Kyotronic 85, it was small and offered many applications such as a word processor, modem or spreadsheet and was already very popular.
By the end of the 1980s, many laptop manufacturers had developed more or less similar machines. It’s all about A4 to A3 page size. Most notable are the NEC Ultralite, Cambridge Z88, and IBM PC Convertible. Compaq LTE introduced the concept of a portable hard disk drive (until that time the operating system was stored on ROM and floppy disk drives were used).
By the beginning of the 1990s, the look and feel of the laptop was defined by Apple computers (integrated trackball, keyboard, and Palm rest). Not to be outdone, the IBM Thinkpad 700C introduced TrackPoint a year later.
Since the mid-1990s, only technology has improved laptops. Long-lasting batteries plus massive hard drives now make your laptop a serious competitor to your desktop.
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