Who Invented the Laptop - A History of the Portable PC

Who Invented the Laptop – A History of the Portable PC


Who Invented the Laptop – A History of the Portable PC

The concept behind a personal computer that could be easily and conveniently carried around was first conceived as early as 1975. The first laptop computer was developed in 1979 and was brought to mass market in 1982. While not a huge success, the idea of being able to take your PC on the go was so powerful at the time that the concept of the laptop computer has since grown to become the global norm.

Since its first introduction, the laptop computer has seen dramatic changes in its form and capabilities. The original form factor was significantly more bulky than the slim, sleek designs we are familiar with today, and contained smaller displays and CPUs that were far less powerful than modern day laptops. This was largely due to the limited battery life of the early computers, so manufacturers had to focus on refining the circuit design in order to reduce the power draw and extend battery life as much as possible.

The Early Years of Portable PCs:

The Early Years of Portable PCs:

The evolution of the laptop started in the early 1980s and revolutionised personal computing. Before these portable PCs emerged, bulky desktop computers had taken a hold of our homes and offices. So, what was the history of the portable PC?

The first significant invention in laptops came in 1979 when the Gavilan SC was released. Manufactured by US-based Gavilan Computer Corporation, its primary feature was battery-powered operation. It was priced around $8,000 so it was very much a novelty item at that time.

The next big advancement came in 1982 with the release of the first true laptop computer – the Grid Compass 1101. It was smaller, lighter, and more user-friendly than any other machine that had gone before. It was highly sought after for its convenience, but cost over $8,000, again limiting its potential.

Despite these early successes, it was not until late 1989 that the laptop properly entered the mainstream. This was when Tandy Corporation released the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 with a retail price of $999 – making high end computing affordable for home users. More affordable models followed, and portable PCs started to become commonplace.

The first decade of the 21st century saw the emergence of a highly competitive market with significant reductions in cost. Manufacturers constantly upgrade and refine their products, leading to devices that are more powerful, more user-friendly, and increasingly attractive.

The laptop has come a long way since its early days. Although no one can pinpoint the inventor, it is clear that the invention of the laptop revolutionised personal computing – and it all started in the early years of the portable PC.

The Modern Laptop Revolution:

The Modern Laptop Revolution:

The advent of personal computers in the late 1970s changed the way people do business and live their lives. In 1981, the first portable PC was released and heralded a new generation of highly mobile computing. The laptop revolution had begun.

In 1981, two filmmakers from California, Adam Osborne and Lee Felsenstein, invented their own portable computer. They called it The Osborne PC. It marked the first real example of a laptop, although far from resembling the modern laptop we may think of today.

Adam Osborne’s creation was followed by the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 in 1983, a laptop computer made of plastic that was incredibly popular in its day. Not long after, the Acer Notebook was released, also in 1983, becoming the first commercial laptop. It weighed 8 lbs and was equipped with a modem, allowing users to connect to a desktop computer system or bulletin boards.

By the mid-1980s, the first notebook-sized machines were being released. The most popular of these were the GRiD Compass 1101 and the Epson HX-20. The former was an especially noteworthy device, as it weighed less than 5lbs and had a battery life of up to 10 hours.

The modern laptop revolution began in 1989, when Apple first released their classic Macintosh Portable. Its ease of use, portability, and LCD display made it an instant hit. There were a few other laptops that came out after the Macintosh Portable, but it was the game changer when it came to laptops.

The rise of the modern laptop has changed the way people think about and use personal computers. We can now take our work and our entertainment anywhere with us, thanks to the invention of the original laptop and the strides taken since then.

The Portable Technology of Today:

The Portable Technology of Today:

We live in an age of portable technology. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are some of the most important tools in our everyday lives, but where did it all begin? In this article, we’ll explore the invention of the laptop and look at the history of the portable PC.

The laptop was invented in the early 1980s by an electrical engineer, Adam Osborne. His original design was a massive computer that could fit inside a briefcase. While it was limited in power compared to modern laptops, it was the first device to truly enable people to take their computers with them on-the-go.

The Osborne 1 hit the market in 1981, followed by a more polished model, the Osbourne Executive, in 1983. It featured a newer, more efficient operating system and a larger memory capacity than its predecessor. However, its sales were limited, and the company declared bankruptcy a couple of years later.

In 1983, Compaq released the Compaq Portable, the first successful portable PC. This system featured a more competitive price point, an improved CPU, and compatibility with various peripherals, such as printers and disk drives. This Portable PC would later become the precursor to the modern-day laptop.

With advancements in technology over the years, laptop computers became lighter, thinner, and more powerful. In 1991, Apple released the PowerBook 100, which was the first widely available laptop to offer an active matrix LCD display. Then, in 1993, IBM released the ThinkPad 700, perhaps the most iconic and popular laptop of the era.

Today, the laptop is an essential element of the modern world. We owe a lot to the pioneers of mobile computing, and it’s all thanks to the invention and development of the portable PC.


In summary, the invention of the laptop computer is a long story that dates back well over 50 years. By bringing together a series of inventions, many talented people contributed to the development of the miniaturized computer we know and love today. While the first commercial laptop was introduced by the Epson HX-20 in 1981, the evolution of the portable PC continues with new and improved developments being made every day.

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