When were laptops first invented?

by techtiptom

Originally posted on WIBC.com on 12/07/2010:

The “clam shell” design which represents our modern laptop was created in 1979 by William Moggridge (a Briton) for GRiD Systems Corporation. GRiD’s Compass Computer entered the market in 1981. GRiD was acquired by Tandy Corporation in 1988. Tandy recognizing the significance of the GRiD Patent portfolio (which also represented over 20 patents for hand writing recognition and pen based computing) aggressively pursued settlements with most of the major laptops and computers sales companies .

GRiD was sold again in 1993 to AST Computers with Tandy holding onto to the GRiD patents.

One of the first commercially available laptop computers was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981. It was called the “Osborne I” (pictired here) and cost $1795. It came bundled with $1500 worth of programs. It had a tiny computer screen built into it. The Osborne I and Kaypro II were not really laptops, but “luggables” – at 23.5 lb and 29 lb, respectively.

One of the first modern style of “laptops” may well have been the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100, with weight of approximately 3.1 lb.

Compaq Computer introduced their first computer which was considered portable around 1981 or 1982. It was about the same size as a modern mini-tower laid on its side, included a green monochrome monitor that was about 7 inches diagonally, and had a full-sized keyboard with a coiled cord that snapped over the monitor. It ran an 8086 processor at  8MHz.

But the first laptop ever invented, in 1976, was the Xerox NoteTaker. It was designed by Alan Key, Adele Goldberg, Douglas Fairbairn, and Larry Tesler. It weighed 48 1/2 lbs. It came with a floppy disk drive, 128K 8-bit memory, and 1MHz processing speed.

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