Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Osborne OSBORNE 1 & Executive - Various (TOSEC-v2005-02-03)

"The Osborne 1 was the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released in April, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (23.5 pounds), cost US$ 1795, and ran the then-popular CP/M 2.2 operating system. Its principal deficiencies were a tiny 5 inch (13 cm) display screen and single sided, single density floppy disk drives whose disks could not contain sufficient data for practical business applications. Its design owed much to that of the Xerox NoteTaker, a prototype developed at Xerox PARC in 1976. There were ten prototypes produced, as described in an email to PBA Galleries, a San Francisco auction house, by Lee Felsenstein, the designer of the Osborne computer, on February 12, 2009:

I can confirm that this is one of the first ten prototype units built, known as the "metal case" units. I don't think they had serial numbers. The cases were made by Galgon Industries in Hayward but their quote for production was prohibitive, so work immediately commenced on the plastic cases. The circuit board was ready in January of 1981 and these were built shortly thereafter. They were used in the first ads ("the guy on the left doesn't stand a chance") in which the veins on the hand of the guy on the right bulge as he struggles with the 30-pound weight of his transformer-powered luggable. These were the units we took to the West Coast Computer Faire and the National Computer Conference in early 1981." (Wikipedia)

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