The First Laptop

Today in 1983, the Osborne Computer Corporation declared bankruptcy. The Osborne I, the first portable computer, was designed by company founder Adam Osborne. It weighed twenty-four pound, had a five-inch display, 64KB of memory, a modem, and two 5¼-inch floppy disk drives. All for $1,795. It was the first PC I ever used, managing survey research budgets for NORC with the help of Visicalc. It was a great improvement over the minicomputer program I used before (in time-sharing mode!), spending hours less on the same task. But nothing compared to the IBM PC with Lotus 1-2-3 to which I switched only a few months later. In the space of less than a year I evolved with the industry from using a remote minicomputer to the first mobile personal computer to the standard PC (soon to be connected to a printer via a LAN) and to playing (no budget program there at the time) with the insanely great first Mac.

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