Retro Laptops: 7 Pioneering Devices

7. TRS-80 Model 100 (1983)

The TRS-80 Model 100, launched by Radio Shack in 1983, was a pioneering portable computer. It featured an Intel 80C85 processor at 2.4 MHz, offered up to 32KB of RAM, a built-in modem and parallel printer port, and ran on four AA batteries for 20 hours, with memory retention for 30 days. Notably, it was the last product personally developed by Bill Gates.

6. Compaq Portable (1983)

In 1983, Compaq introduced the Portable, an IBM-compatible portable PC with an Intel 8088 CPU, 128KB RAM, and a choice of storage options. Weighing 28 pounds, it resembled a suitcase and set new standards for mobile computing.

5. GRiD Compass (1982)

The GRiD Compass, designed by Bill Moggridge, was the first "clamshell" laptop, launched in 1982. It featured an 8MHz Intel 8086 CPU, 34KB memory, and a 320×240 display. Used by NASA's Space Shuttle program, it relied on AC power, lacking a rechargeable battery.

4. Osborne 1 (1981)

The Osborne 1, introduced in 1981, was a fully portable computer by Adam Osborne. It weighed 24.5 pounds, had a 4MHz Zilog Z80 CPU, 64KB RAM, and dual 5.25-inch floppy drives, pioneering the portable computer market.

3. R2E CCMC Portal (1980)

In 1980, François Gernelle introduced the R2E CCMC Portal, featuring a 2MHz Intel 8085 CPU, 64KB RAM, and a thermal printer. While not fully portable, its manageable 26.5-pound weight facilitated mobility.

2. Epson HX-20 (1980)

The 1980 Epson HX-20, often seen as the first true laptop, featured a "cyberdeck" design, two Hitachi 6301 CPUs, up to 32KB RAM, and up to 64KB ROM. Weighing just 3.5 pounds, it ran on rechargeable batteries for an impressive 50 hours of uptime, redefining portability.

1. IBM 5100 (1975)

The IBM 5100, introduced in 1975, is recognized as the first-ever portable computer, although it weighed a hefty 55 pounds and lacked battery power. It integrated a screen, keyboard, and processing unit into a single unit, pioneering the concept of laptops.