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History of Laptop Computers

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Essay title: History of Laptop Computers

“Technology is like fish. The longer it stays on the shelf, the less desirable it becomes.” (1) Since the dawn of computers, there has always been a want for a faster, better technology. These needs can be provided for quickly, but become obsolete even quicker. In 1981, the first “true portable computer”, the Osborne 1 was introduced by the Osborne Computer Corporation. (2) This computer revolutionized the way that computers were used and introduced a brand new working opportunity.

The Osborne Computer Corporation was founded in 1980 by Adam Osborne. This company was founded upon the idea of developing one product, the portable computer system. The first Osborne 1 was shown at the National Computer Conference in May of 1981 and was an instant hit. It brought brand new concepts to the table, such as a built-in screen and an optional battery back. (2) This computer, though a success, had lots of room for technological advances. A small 5” screen and a weight of 24.5 lbs left users wanting more. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the mobility of the computer that was the selling point, but it was the $1500 worth of software that was included in the $1795 price tag. To the business consumer, this was an incredible deal. Within the first 8 months of sales, 11,000 units were shipped and 50,000 were on backorder. The success of the world’s first portable computer was apparent, but the business smarts of the Osborne Computer Corporation were not. After massive success with the Osborne 1, the company began to develop a new portable computer system to sell. Despite the rampant success of the Osborne 1, several other computer companies offered a large amount of competition. Not only did the competition make improvements upon the Osborne 1, but they also introduced a new a new IBM operating system that was faster and had more software titles available. Although the competition was heavy, the Osborne 1 continued to sell until early in 1983 when Adam Osborne announced the future arrival of a new product from the Osborne Computer Corporation. This announcement killed the demand for the Osborne 1 in anticipation for its replacement. As inventory increased, sales decreased until Sept. 13th, 1983 when Osborne Computer Corporation filed for bankruptcy. (3)

Although the Osborne Corporation’s business practice may not have been the best, they are still responsible for introducing the world’s first portable computer. The invention of the built-in screen and battery pack made it possible for users to take their work from the office to the home. The development of portable computing systems had nowhere to go but up from here. Within a year of the release of the Osborne 1, competitors released computers with larger displays and faster processors. (3) By 1987, the then processor speed quadruples to 16MHz and a new video standard is presented, VGA. VGA replaced the dual tone, low res GUI with a much higher resolution and 16-bit colors.(4) Updates continues to roll out with the Macintosh PowerBook 500 Series introduced in 1994. This

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