Feeds

The IBM ThinkPad: 15 years old today

The iconic black laptop celebrates its birthday

The essential guide to IT transformation

On 5 October 1992, IBM also introduced the ThinkPad 300, actually made by Zenith Data Systems. It was powered by a 25MHz 386SL processor and fitted with a monochrome 640 x 480 display. Again, it shipped with 4MB of memory and a choice of 80MB or 120MB hard drive. And it too had an Ethernet port.

IBM ThinkPad 300 - image courtesy ThinkWiki
IBM's ThinkPad 300: slower than the 700 but longer-running

If the 700 series' selling point was performance, the 300's was battery life. The laptop was said to be capable of running for up to ten hours - unthinkable by today's standards. The suggested retail price for the 80MB ThinkPad 300 was $2375, while the model with the 120MB drive cost $2575.

The ThinkPads 300, 700 and 700C defined the core design of the laptop line, defining the way their successor would look right up to the present day. That arguably makes them the first true ThinkPads as we understand the brand name today. But they weren't the first IBM machines to carry the ThinkPad moniker.

IBM ThinkPad 700T - image courtesy ThinkWiki
IBM's 2521 ThinkPad... er... ThinkPad 700T

That honour goes to the IBM 2521 ThinkPad - known at the time as the ThinkPad - a pen-operated portable that Big Blue actually announced on 17 April 1992, but which didn't ship until the following July - hence, according to Lenovo, today's anniversary. It comprised a 20MHz 386SX processor, 4MB or 8MB of memory, a 10in, 640 x 480 monochrome display and a built-in 2.4Kbps modem. Serial and parallel ports, and connectors for an external floppy drive and a keyboard, were part of the spec too.

Amazingly in an era long before the current debate over the future of hard drive technology and the emergence of Flash-based alternatives, the 2521 incorporated a 20MB solid-state drive. The 2521 ran PenPoint, an tablet-oriented operating system from Go Corporation.

Come 5 October, IBM renamed the 2521 the ThinkPad 700T to bring its naming into line with the three new laptop models. It also tweaked the design slightly to make it more robust.

The following year, on 4 May, IBM rolled out the ThinkPad 720 and 720C, upping the original 700-series models' 25MHz processor with a 50MHz version.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon
The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?