What did the first commercially available portable computer have going for it? Well, it was super light at a whopping 55 pounds. It also cost $19,975, more than some cars do these days.
First introduced: September, 1975
CPU: IBM proprietary, 1.9MHz
RAM: 16K, 64K max
Display: 5″ monochrome monitor 64 X 16 text
Storage: Internal 200K tape (DC300)
Ports: tape / printer I/O port
OS: APL and/or BASIC
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The IBM 5100 is pretty neat; I have a few of them. But it most definitely wasn’t the first portable computer. HP offered the HP 9830A desktop computer in 1972, vs. the IBM 5100 in 1975.
The HP 9830A was of a similar physical size to the 5100, and weighed less. It ran BASIC, and had a one line text display rather than the 64×16 CRT of the IBM 5100. It also didn’t have as much memory as the IBM 5100. Nevertheless, it was a complete computer.
$20K in 1975 was about like $80K now.
“Possessing one less handle than the number of people required to carry it.”