The first personal computer
In 1975, Ed Roberts coined the term “personal computer” when he introduced the Altair 8800. Although the first personal computer is considered by many to be the KENBAK-1, which was first introduced for $750 in 1971. The computer relied on a series of switches for inputting data and output data by turning on and off a series of lights.
The first laptop or portable computer
The IBM 5100 is the first portable computer, which was released in September 1975. The computer weighed 55-pounds and had a five inch CRT display, tape drive, 1.9 MHz PALM processor, and 64 KB of RAM. In the picture is an ad of the IBM 5100 taken from a November 1975 issue of Scientific American.
The first truly portable computer or laptop is considered to be the Osborne I, which was released in April 1981 and developed by Adam Osborne. The Osborne I weighed 24.5-pounds, had a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, two 5 1/4″ floppy drives, ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system, included a modem, and cost $1,795.
The IBM PCD (PC Division) later released the IBM portable in 1984, its first portable computer that weighed 30-pounds. Later in 1986, IBM PCD announced its first laptop computer, the PC Convertible, weighing 12-pounds. Finally, in 1994, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad 775CD, the first notebook with an integrated CD-ROM.
first Apple computer
The Apple I (Apple 1) was the first Apple computer that originally sold for $666.66. The computer kit was developed by Steve Wozniak in 1976and contained a 6502 8-bit processor and 4 kb of memory, which was expandable to 8 or 48 kb using expansion cards. Although the Apple I had a fully assembled circuit board the kit still required a power supply, display, keyboard, and case to be operational. Below is a picture of an Apple I from an advertisement by Apple.
first IBM personal computer
IBM introduced its first personal computer, the IBM PC, in 1981. The computer was code-named Acorn. It featured an 8088 processor, 16 KB of memory, which was expandable to 256 and used MS-DOS.
first PC clone
The Compaq Portable is considered to be the first PC clone and was release in March 1983 by Compaq. The Compaq Portable was 100% compatible with IBM computers and was capable of running any software developed for IBM computers.
- See our index of computer companies for information about manufacturers of IBM-compatible computers.
first multimedia computer
In 1992, Tandy Radio Shack released the M2500 XL/2 and M4020 SX, among the first computers to feature the MPC standard.