Laptops are the most common mobile computers today. They’re essential for every profession and they’re used by millions of people around the world.
The first laptops were based on the desktop computer concept, but they were designed to be portable and light. They also had a small screen and less storage space than a full desktop computer.
Alan Kay, one of the founding fathers of laptops, created his Dynabook in 1972, a device he believed would revolutionise the world of personal computing. It was to be a computer that offered users all the features of books, but without the limitations of size or weight.
Today, that idea lives on in the countless tablets and laptops on the market. And while it’s a shame that the Dynabook never came to fruition, it still paved the way for some of the most advanced ideas behind the modern computer.
It may be a new brand name, but it’s built on the foundation of Toshiba’s 35-year heritage in mobile computing, Sharp’s technology and wider digital office solutions. The new dynabook also benefits from Toshiba’s innovation collaboration and the significant procurement and manufacturing capabilities of Foxconn. The combination of these two makes for a truly global brand that delivers the kind of innovative products, technology and features that people love – dynabook style!
The Osborne 1
In 1981, Adam Osborne, author of computer books, launched a company called the Osborne Computer Corporation. It produced the Osborne 1, the first portable computer based on a floppy disk operating system.
The Osborne 1 ran the CP/M operating system on its Z80 microprocessor and came with 64K of RAM. It was able to run a variety of CP/M programs but also could use software written for the 16-bit IBM PC or Compaq Portable computers that had a larger software library.
The Osborne 1 was designed to be portable and easily luggable. It weighed 24.5 pounds (11 kg) and had a five-inch display that was limited to displaying only 52 characters per line of text.
The Epson HX-20
The Epson HX-20 was one of the first laptop computers. It was invented in 1980 by Yukio Yokozawa, who worked for Suwa Seikosha, a branch of Japanese company Seiko (now Seiko Epson).
The HX-20 was first announced in Japan as the HC-20 and was later released worldwide as the Epson HX-20. It was marketed as a notebook computer, and was the first true portable computer.
It had a microcassette drive, a printer, and an RS-232C connection to external devices. It also had 16K of RAM that could be expanded to 32K with an optional expansion module.
Despite its impressive features, the HX-20 was never commercially successful. It had a few flaws, including a lack of software and a confusing charging system. It was also quite expensive for its time.
The Kaypro 2000
The Kaypro 2000 was the first laptop computer to be produced by Kaypro. It was a CP/M machine that ran Microsoft’s MS-DOS operating system.
The case of the Kaypro 2000 is a black, brushed-aluminum unit with beveled sides and a ridged black rubber guard around the edge. Inside is a full 25-line by 80-character liquid crystal display screen with a detachable keyboard.
It can be used in either of two viewing positions, which you can switch by pulling up on the front of the case. The unit is also compatible with a Kaypro base, which can be connected to the computer via a one-hundred pin connector.
Kaypro began as Non-Linear Systems (NLS), a company that made digital voltmeters. In 1982 Kaypro began producing its first computer.
The Grid Compass
One of the most innovative laptops of its time, the GRiD Compass was the first portable computer to adopt the clamshell design over a keyboard that is the hallmark of most modern notebooks. It was designed in 1979 by British industrial designer Bill Moggridge for Grid Systems Corporation.
Unlike its predecessors, the Compass had no rotating disks and instead used a solid-state storage system called bubble memory. This system, which is still used today, was a breakthrough in that it allowed users to carry data without relying on an external storage device.
Its rugged magnesium case and 384 kilobytes of bubble memory made it an ideal fit for NASA, which purchased them to be carried on shuttle missions in the 1980s. It also sold well to military special forces, which praised its weight and durability. The price tag, however, was high: US$8-10,000.
The Apple iBook
The iBook was Apple’s last consumer-targeted notebook series to feature the PowerPC processor. It debuted in 1999 and lasted until 2006.
Like the original PowerBooks, Apple’s iBooks had bold colors and a handle and latch-less design. They also featured a slot-loading optical drive, which eliminated the need for an easily damaged CD tray.
Though it doesn’t offer the performance or battery life of the current MacBook Air, the iBook G4 is a great choice for budget-conscious consumers. It boasts a faster, 133MHz system bus and an 800MHz processor that outperformed the 900MHz G3 in our tests.
The iBook G4 also features an ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics card and 32MB of video RAM for smooth 3D gaming. We were disappointed that it couldn’t match the PowerBook 12-inch 1GHz G4 in our test, but its performance is still impressive.
The Dell XPS
The Dell XPS has long been known as one of the top Windows laptops available. It comes in a variety of sizes and configurations and can be fully customized.
Its screen-to-body ratio and super thin bezels are legendary. It’s also an excellent choice for gaming and high-end work.
Another key feature is the InfinityEdge display that maximizes your active screen area. This improves picture quality and increases your productivity by allowing you to see more content on the screen at once.
There are two screen options: a 13.4-inch OLED touchscreen with 400nit brightness or a UHD+ 3,840 x 2,400 LCD touchscreen with 500nit brightness. Both have a 16:10 aspect ratio and anti-reflection technology.
The Lenovo Yoga 13
The Lenovo Yoga 13 is the latest in a line of convertible laptop/tablet hybrids. It has a touchscreen that pulls apart to become two separate tablets, or it can fold into a tent, stand, or slate.
One of the most intriguing features about the Yoga 13 is its ability to rotate its screen all the way back 360 degrees, turning it into a tablet. In this mode, the back of the screen housing rests on the base portion of the system itself, giving you a solid-feeling touch-only handheld device.
The IPS display offers a higher resolution than standard ultrabook screens at 1600 x 900, delivering excellent sharpness. Colour reproduction is neutral with a good level of brightness and contrast that produces deep blacks to complement movies and YouTube videos without overly muddy greys.
The Microsoft Surface
The Surface is Microsoft’s first tablet computer, and was introduced in 2012. Critics have praised its clever physical attributes, including a kickstand that can sweep out and prop up the screen on a desk.
It also had a power-sipping Arm chip, which gave it good battery life. Its display responded to touch, and it could be used with a Surface Pen.
Microsoft now offers a wide range of Surface PCs, from low-end RT models to high-performance Core models. Each model features a PixelSense display that has a 120Hz refresh rate and responds to touch.
The new models have more powerful processors, better battery life and higher-quality displays. They are also lighter and thinner, making them more portable.