Feeds

Great and Good honour the designer of world's first laptop

The GRiD Compass. A snip at $8150

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Forgotten Tech The British designer of the world's first laptop has pipped Vivienne Westwood to win the 2010 Prince Philip Designer prize.

Bill Moggridge was commissioned by John Ellenby, the founder of a Silicon Valley start-up called GRiD, to design a powerful computer with an electronic display.

Moggridge came up with a physical prototype that had a clamshell case, opening to reveal screen on top and a keyboard below. Sound familiar? Here is a pic of the prototype:

Grid Compass prototype

Ellenby raised some venture capital, while Moggridge assembled a design team and completed the design of what became the GRiD Compass.

Released in 1982 and sold for a whopping $8150, the laptop weighed in at 10lb, 2oz (4.6 kilos). So it was more luggable than portable.

Grid Compass production version

Grid Compass - the first laptop

The spec included an Intel 8086 CPU, 256K of DRAM, a flat 6inlectroluminescent display, 384K bubble RAM as internal storage, an external floppy drive, and its very own operating system, Grid OS.

The Compass was a hit. NASA astronauts even took their GRiDs to space.

Astronaut with Grid Compass For Moggridge, the impact "lay not in the physical design achievements", the Design Council citation reads, "but in the way that the user interacted with the hardware and software."

This fascination with the interface between the software and its users led Moggridge to "develop and pioneer the discipline of interaction design". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

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
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
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'
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?