The GRiD Compass — the first real laptop with a flat screen and folding clamshell construction — was made in 1982 by the GRiD Systems Corporation of Fremont, California, having been designed in 1979 by British inventor Bill Moggridge. Although the concept of so-called "portable computers" had been around for much longer, including Alan Kay's Dynabook tablet PC in 1968, they existed only as plans awaiting the requisite technologies for realization.Know More
Other attempts during the 1980s to develop portable computers included the Osborne 1 and Compaq Portable, both of which were far too heavy and bulky to be easily carried. Although Moggridge's design was dependent on alternating current power like these other models, it was far more lightweight at just 5 pounds to their 25 to 30 pounds.
The GRiD Compass was also designed to be rugged, which, combined with its prohibitive retail price that reached $8,000, made it far better-suited to military use than that of wealthy business executives, who tended to prefer IBM computers.
Specifications of the first laptop included an electroluminescent display, an Intel 8086 processor and an external floppy disk drive that sat underneath.
In 1985, the GRiD Compass was instrumental in NASA's STS-51-G mission in space. In 1990, it was retired from production, although it remains a landmark invention to this day.Learn more about Computer History
The first mechanical computer was the Difference Engine built in 1822 by Charles Babbage, considered as the "father of the computer." Between 1847 and 1849, he made an improved version of his first model, which he called Difference Engine No. 2. However, the machine was not transformed into a full-scale functional device due to lack of funding.Full Answer >
The IBM personal computer contained the first motherboard, which was referred to as the “breadboard” and was released in 1981. The breadboard provided a platform for the computers RAM and CPU and also had ports for a keyboard, mouse and cassette tape.Full Answer >
The first word processing program used in 1979 was WordStar. The software was published by MicroPro International and became the most successful word processor throughout the 1980s.Full Answer >
The invention of the first tablet PC, or personal computer, is credited to three men: Alan Kay, Steve Jobs and Bill Moggridge. Computer specialist Kay created the concept for the tablet PC in the early 1960s, which he called the Dynabook, but need technical expertise to build the product. Technical enthusiast Jobs analyzed Kay’s product in the 1970s, and lent a hand in determining the components needed to build the machine.Full Answer >