[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Osborne 1

June 25th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Osborne 1 Portable Computer ad -  1982Two out of three doctors recommend Osborne 1 for muscle fatigue.

We’ve come a long way from what many consider to be the first commercial portable PC, the Osborne 1 (seen here), and the recently announced Microsoft Surface tablet.

Here’s a brain twister for you. If you packed a case the size of the Osborne 1 (think small suitcase) with Surface-sized portable tech, how powerful would the machine be?

[ From BYTE Magazine, February 1982, p.31 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was your first portable computer? When did you get it?

8 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Osborne 1”

  1. Christian Liendo Says:

    Lee Felsenstein who designed the Osborne 1 will be in NJ on July 1 2012 speaking to the Mid Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists about Computer History.

    Here is my page which talks about the event

  2. Moondog Says:

    My first portable was a Zenith laptop, Model ZWL-200-2. It was a company-issued 286 with a 20mb hard drive.

  3. Judith Says:

    My first portable was a Dell Latitude 600 – not too old, really. It still gets pressed into service when the newer things crash. I got it because my son won it in a Google Code Jam, and I pointed out that since he already had a laptop, he could give it to me for Christmas and not worry about gift shopping.
    OTOH, I have a nice Commodore SX-64 sitting in the living room that I really ought to try out.

  4. Arlandi Says:

    my first portable was a Compaq Contura Aero 4/25. i think it was a 486sx with 4megabytes of ram and maybe a 40mb of harddisk. i installed Stacker in this gadget. it is very light, and very easy to carry this in my bag. i use it for my undergraduate years circa 1995 or 96.

    the only trouble, that after few months of use, the screen hinge broke!!! i have to rest the screen on a wall to use it…

    btw, you could build a trap that kills a person by dropping the Osborne 1 on his/her head… so this is way more powerful than today’s tablet.

  5. Arlandi Says:

    correction: it was a Contura Aero 4/33c. the one with color vga. 4/25 is monochrome

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    I have a Contura Aero 4/33c and a 4/25 — they are really cool machines. In fact, they’re probably my favorite vintage laptops in my collection. A few years ago, I used the 4/25 to play through some text adventure games while winding down for bed (the screen is backlit, so I could play them in the dark), and it was lots of fun.

  7. Dextorion Says:

    Ahh, the awesomeness. My dad used to have one of these. Green and black monitor. I actually wrote my first little basic program on it, and today I got my degree in software engineering.
    Great read. Brings back memories.

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