Feeds

The Osborne 1: 30 years old this month

We remember the first commercial portable PC

Top three mobile application threats

The Osborne 1, the world's first commercially produced computer designed to be portable, is 30 years old this month.

Adam Osborne, founder of the Osborne Computer Corporation, introduced the 11kg machine in April 1981, though it didn't go into mass production until June 1981.

Osborne 1

The Osborne 1
Source: Wikipedia

It was not the first machine of its kind, though it was the first portable machine people could buy. Five years previously, technologist Alan Kay had conceived - and colleagues Doug Fairbairn, Adele Goldberg and Larry Tesler then built - a portable computing prototype called the NoteTaker. The device was created at Xerox's technology hothouse, the Palo Alto Research Centre. Fairbairn and co. went on to construct nine further prototypes.

Such is the strong resemblance between his later machine and the NoteTaker, it's hard to conclude that Osborne hadn't seen it. If not, his designer, Lee Felsenstein, may well have done.

Both Osborne and Felsenstein were early members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a band of hobbyists founded in 1975. The HCC attracted a host of Silicon Valley technology fans, many of whom would become major players in the industry, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak among them.

Xerox NoteTaker

Xerox's NoteTaker
Source: The Computing History Museum

Through the HCC, Felsenstein and Osborne were well placed to hear about the likes of the NoteTaker.

In any case, whoever attempted to build a portable computer in the late 1970s would have produced something a lot like the NoteTaker.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.