Laptop computer history

Updated: 04/02/2019 by Computer Hope
Year Event
1975 The first portable computer was the IBM 5100, released in September 1975. It weighed 55-pounds, which was much lighter and more portable than any other computer to date. While not truly a laptop by today's standards, it paved the way for the development of truly portable computers, i.e., laptops.
1976 Alan Kay came up with the idea of the laptop computer in 1976 while working at Xerox PARC, calling it the Dynabook. He helped develop a prototype of his Dynabook, which was officially named the Xerox Note Taker.
1979 Bill Moggridge designed the GRiD Compass in 1979, the most portable computer at the time and the closest example of a laptop computer. NASA used the GRiD Compass in their space shuttle program in the early 1980s.
1981 Developed by Adam Osborne in April 1981, the Osborne I was the first truly portable computer and is recognized as the first true laptop computer. It weighed 24½-pounds and had a 5" display.
1981 Epson released the Epson HX-20 in 1981. It was the first portable computer with a built-in printer.
1983 Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer in the United States in 1983. It featured an LCD, one of the first portable computers with that feature. The TRS-80 Model 100 was originally manufactured by Kyocera and sold in Japan, but later the rights were sold to Radio Shack.
1984 Commodore released the Commodore SX-64 in 1984, the first portable computer to feature a full-color display screen. It weighed about 20-pounds and sold for $995.
1986 IBM released their first laptop, the PC Convertible, in 1986. It weighed 12-pounds, making it the first laptop under 15-pounds.
1987 The U.S. Air Force issued an RFP (request for proposal), leading to the purchase of over 200,000 laptops. The contract for the manufacturing and purchase of these laptops was awarded to Zenith Data Systems. The Air Force's purchase of so many laptops helped pave the way for the popularity of laptop computers.
1987 Hewlett-Packard released the Vectra Portable CS laptop in 1987. It was one of the first laptops to feature a 3 ½" floppy disk drive capable of using 1.44 MB diskettes.
1988 Compaq released their first laptop computer in 1988, the Compaq SLT/286. It was the first battery-powered laptop to feature VGA graphics and an internal hard drive.
1989 Apple released their first laptop, the Macintosh Portable, in September 1989. Costing $6500 at release, it did not sell well and was not a popular laptop.
1989 NEC released the NEC UltraLite in 1989, considered to be the first notebook style laptop, weighing less than 5-pounds.
1991 After the flop of their Macintosh Portable laptop, Apple re-worked their laptop concept and released the PowerBook line of laptops in October 1991.
1992 Microsoft and Intel worked together to develop and release APM (advanced power management) specification for laptop computers.
1992 Olivetti developed and released the first laptops featuring a touchpad in 1992.
1994 IBM released the ThinkPad 775CD in 1994, the first laptop to feature an integrated CD-ROM drive.
2002 Toshiba released the Toshiba Portege 2000 in 2002, the thinnest laptop to be developed at only ¾ of an inch at the thickest part. It also featured the first 1.8-inch hard drive in a laptop.
2003 Toshiba released the Toshiba Portege M100 in 2003, which is the first laptop to feature a slim DVD-ROM drive.
2007 ASUS released the Eee PC 701 in October 2007, which was the first netbook to be available. It featured a 7" screen, an Intel Celeron-M processor, and a 4 GB SDHC storage disk.

Computer History