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My collection

Chuck(G)

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Was the O1 really the first portable computer? I don't think so, by a long shot. Consider the MCM/70 Precedes even the MITS and Apple boxes. Definitely portable and definitely a personal computer--and 1973. Was there ever an APL for the O1?

MCM2.jpg
 

Steve Johnson

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Apr 14, 2013
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Upstate New York
Thanks, I have collected all kinds of antique electronic items over the years. My main focus has been on antique/vintage test equipment since I was a tech in one form or another most of my life. Doesn't do anyone else any good sitting so I try to put the more interesting stuff on the web along with a little bit of history info.
 

Steve Johnson

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Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
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Location
Upstate New York
Was the O1 really the first portable computer? I don't think so, by a long shot. Consider the MCM/70 Precedes even the MITS and Apple boxes. Definitely portable and definitely a personal computer--and 1973. Was there ever an APL for the O1?
MCM2.jpg

I don't think the MCM/70 was considered a portable. No handle, no case, and no optional battery to run it. The battery it had was just to hold memory when it was shut down.
 

Chuck(G)

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The optional battery came rather late in Osborne's history--I first saw the O1 as a bunch of parts spread out on a folding work table at Sorcim in the early 80s, when they were working on the BIOS, before it was announced. I asked about a battery to run it and was told that that was not in the plans. The tiny CRT really turned me off.

Note that the Kaypro and even the Compaq are considered portable, even though neither had batteries--and nothing to hold memory contents. For that matter, neither does the O1 memory contents survive power cycles--nor did it implement virtual memory.

Back in 1975, IBM called its model 5100 a "portable computer".

Adam had seen the GM Research "Micro Star" being sold as a portable computer in 1979, which, by his own admission, inspired him to market the O1. I can only find patent records for the Micro Star, but no photos.
 

Steve Johnson

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Upstate New York
Interesting. Would be nice to see photos of the Micro Star. Do you know if it was it designed to be carried around? Handle, closed case, etc.?

I wouldn't consider the MCM/70 a portable as it was designed to sit on a desk.
 

Chuck(G)

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The Micro Star was sold to the military, so it was portable in a military sort of way (i.e. ruggedized). That's about all I remember about it.

There's a patent online somewhere that shows the case design.

I used to joke that if you attached a handle to a refrigerator, you could call it 'portable". All of those early ones were heavy--I don't even remember what the 5100 weighed, but it was probably close to carrying around a bag of Sackrete.
 

TanruNomad

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Jul 26, 2010
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560
Location
San Diego, CA
Xerox Notetaker (1976) and IBM 5100 (1975) come to mind as early portable computers, both of which I'd love to add to my collection. Never heard of the MCM/70, that must be a rare beast!
 

Magudiq

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Apr 24, 2013
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I used to joke that if you attached a handle to a refrigerator, you could call it 'portable". All of those early ones were heavy--I don't even remember what the 5100 weighed, but it was probably close to carrying around a bag of Sackrete. weight loss resort
 
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