13 CRITICAL MACHINES
IBM 5100 Portable Computer
The first computer with a built-in display, this 50-pound monster was swept under the rug after the PC came out in 1981.
Adam Osborne’s labor of love was an overnight success … and an overnight failure. Today it is remembered fondly as a pioneer in portability.
GRiD Compass 1100
The first mobile computer with a folding screen, the GRiD Compass was a coveted survivor for more than a decade.
The world’s first “laptop,” designed as a slate with no folding display.
An early form of touch pad (that’s it between the keyboard and the screen) made the Gavilan a pioneer. Alas, bankruptcy came calling inside of a year.
The first 100-percent compatible IBM PC clone, the “luggable” and its successors were business standbys for years.
The first color portable computer, the “Executive” had a 5-inch color TV built into the case. Commodore SX-64s are still prized collectables.
The first true notebook, the original UltraLite had no hard drive; instead it used solid-state storage with no moving parts.
Apple PowerBook 100
The keyboard should be to the rear of the notebook and the track ball up front? You don’t say! This design has been the standard for nearly 15 years.
IBM ThinkPad 700C
The birth of the IBM revolution. It could have been a disaster: The TrackPoint’s early names were “Pogo Stick” and “Whiskers” (instead of “mouse,” get it?), according to the book ThinkPad: A Different Shade of Blue.
Apple PowerBook 500
The 500 offered the world’s first true touch pad on a notebook, not to mention a handful of other innovations that set the stage for a decade of portable computing.
Sony Vaio C1 Picturebook
Sony’s team of miniaturizers got the industry thinking about ultratiny notebooks, including this machine, which included a built-in camera.
OQO Model 01
The smallest self-contained PC ever built, the OQO hints at a future where technology literally goes anywhere you do.