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Osborne 1 celebrates its 30th birthday, and that of the portable computing revolution

Sean Hollister
April 3, 2011
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On April 3rd, 1981 -- thirty years ago today -- Adam Osborne unveiled the Osborne 1 at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It had a 4 MHz Zilog Z80 CPU, two single-sided floppy drives, 64K of RAM, and a five-inch monochrome CRT display. Nothing particularly special there, even back in the day. No, what made the Osborne 1 extraordinary was the fact that the 24-pound plastic machine had a carrying handle on the back -- and at the bargain price of $1,795 with software included, it became one of the first mass-produced portable computers to succeed. Which, of course, spurred competitors to create an army of even more luggable, loveable machines. Shortly after helping to change the course of history, Osborne and his computer fell into a spiral of pain, but the next time you admire the way your ultralight slides into a manila envelope, you'll know who to thank. Find a short but sweet chronicle of the Osborne 1 at our Technologizer link.

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