Computers Past, Present, and Future

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Laptops: Past, Present, & Future
August 22, 2011

In order to understand the future of laptops, we will take a look at the history and present concepts of laptops. Technology has advance dramatically over the years. Laptops were once huge bulky machines and now most portable devices such as laptops are so small you can fit them in a regular purse. Laptops once had modems and dial up connection but now we use Wi-Fi as way to connect to the internet. Now laptops can do virtually anything from playing games online to shopping in faster speeds. According to Bill Gates, “the most significant innovation in personal computing over the past 30 years has been the evolution of natural interfaces, with GUI, speech recognition, gestures and touch receiving equal weight.” (Hachman, 2011). With such the advancement of technology in the past 30 years, laptops have become easier for anyone to use. As the advancement of technology, the future ideas of laptops will become faster and smaller. There are already devices as netbooks, tablets, and cellphones that can do some of the same functions as laptops. Not only has technology of laptops improved, the cost of them has also became more affordable for everyone compare to what they use to cost. The history of laptops has contributed to what they are now and the future of what they will be. Below are a couple of pictures of the transition of laptops over the years.

The first laptop is no were near what laptops are today. For example the first laptop that was invented was not book sized and folding to what we are familiar today. However they still were portable and were able to sit on your lap. In 1981, the first "true portable computer", the Osborne 1 was introduced by the Osborne Computer Corporation. 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. This laptop had a small 5 inch screen and weight 24.5 pounds. It was in high demand when it first came out even though it cost $1795. With success with this laptop, the company decided to create a new laptop even with some competition from other companies. Not only did the competition make improvements upon the Osborne 1, but they also introduced a new IBM operating system that was faster and had more software available. Even though there was competition from other companies, the Osborne 1 still was high demand and continued to sell until early 1983 when Adam Osborne announced a new arrival of product. 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. Even though the company filed for bankruptcy, it was the first company invented computer with built in screen and battery pack with the ability for people to take their computer from the office to home.

Figure 1 Osborne 1 Introduced April 1981, CPU Zilog @ 4.0 MHZ, RAM 64K, Storage dual 5 1/4 in & 91K drives, OS CP/M
A year after the release of Osborne1 there were other competitors who invented laptops with bigger screen and faster processor. In 1983, Gavilan introduced the Gavilan Mobile Computer. It had a screen that folded over the keyboard when closed, weighed 9 pounds, and ran on nickel cadmium batteries for about 9 hours. Three years later in 1986 Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 200. It was more compact, had a larger display, more effective laptop battery power, and included built in software. By 1987, the processor speed quadruples to 16MHz, VGA replaced dual tone, and resolution changed to 16 bit. By then IBM released the 5155 portable personal computer. This laptop had two doubled-sided 5 ¼ inch drives and 640K RAM. Even though it had faster...
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