History Of Laptops - GoTechTalk

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

History Of Laptops


At one time a full-fledged computer that could fit into a single room was viewed as a pipe dream but a similar concept to the contemporary laptop was envisioned all the way back in 1968 by computer scientist Alan Kay when he conceived of the Dynabook a gadget that bore a passing resemblance to a modern eReader but was perhaps surprisingly intended as an educational tool for kids, now the Dynabook was never manufactured but portable computing didn't take long to become a reality arguably the first ever portable computer for the general public the IBM 5100 hit the market in 1975 and yes this is an actual photo of the 5100, it essentially looked like an entire old-school desktop computer except with a tiny 5-inch display capable of displaying a whopping 1,024 characters.

At 24 kilograms it wasn't exactly a backpack friendly though to its credit it did come with a carrying case but it was hailed as an engineering marvel at the time because packing all those components into one somewhat portable box hadn't been done before and it priced only $9,000 then which is equivalent to about $41,000 today, subsequent portables the term laptop would be coined later continued tiny CRT and a heavy case trend at its launch in 1981 the Osborn one weighed twenty-four and a half pounds and cost a much more reasonable $1,800 so then it wasn't until 1983 that we saw the first laptop that somewhat resembled what we're used to today.

The 8,000 Grid Compass which featured a flat electroluminescent display instead of a CRT helping to reduce the weight to less than 11 pounds, at the time it's 320 by 240 pixel display was praised for being nice and sharp and it even came with 384 kilobytes of bubble memory an early form of solid-state storage fun fact it's rumored that the grid compass served as part of the US president's nuclear football at some point, but continent destroying capabilities aside the compass had a huge weakness in that it wasn't compatible with the widely used IBM PC though it didn't take too long for laptop manufacturers to catch on, starting in 1985 with the Kaypro 2000 which came with a surprisingly handsome aluminum shell followed by the IBM PC convertible the next year.

Falling prices and at least passable portability meant that laptops quickly became popular among business users toward the late 1980s and in 1988 the world was introduced to the NEC ultralight weighing just over four pounds boasting a thickness of only 1.4 inches which would actually put it in the same ballpark as some modern machines, indeed the ultralight is often credited with being the first laptop in the world to be called a notebook due to its compact size, however the ultra-light was still criticized for being relatively light on features and we didn't see a major shift in the lightweight laptop industry until Apple rolled out the original PowerBook 100 which included their system 7 graphical OS as well as a built-in trackball another fun fact while it's nearly impossible to find trackballs on laptops today the PowerBook 100 was credited with popularizing the concept of a built-in pointing device and Apple  would continue this leadership when they introduced the first built-in touchpad on a later power book in 1994.


The next year 1995 saw the release of Windows 95 which was a big deal for laptop technology, Windows 95 was able to standardize many elements of laptop design thanks to its ability to talk to the laptops BIOS more directly to handle functions like power management, obviating the need for the wide variety of bios's and drivers that were necessary on older devices making manufacturing simpler and increasing interoperability another feature that's now ubiquitous on laptops built-in Wi-Fi first appeared in 1999 on the Apple iBook which was even more well known for its interesting design, subsequent laptops incrementally added features that we're used to today like HD screens, webcams, solid-state drives and even desktop grade graphics processing and we've gotten some new form factors along the way, such as the briefly popular netbook and underpowered Windows machine with an unusually small keyboard which was introduced in 2007 and the huge salvo of two-in-one touchscreen devices in 2013 when Microsoft rolled out Windows 8 along with that awful metro modern whatever you want to call it Start screen thing, and thanks to smaller more efficient processors laptops have generally become thinner and lighter some are even in the neighborhood of 2 pounds which is less than 125th of the weight of the original IBM 5100.

Alright, guys, that's the end of the blog, thanks for reading the whole way through if you enjoyed this blog please share it with someone who would be interested and leave a comment, Thanks for reading guys.

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