Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Compaq Portable was the first product to be brought out by Compaq Computer Corporation. Not only that, but it was the first ever IBM PC compatible personal computer not manufactured by IBM, and also the first ever IBM PC compatible portable computer. Compaq actually derived their company name from the compact nature of the Portable.
Announced in November 1982 and released in March 1983 at a price of US$3,590, this "luggable" suitcase-sized computer was one of the progenitors of the modern laptop; an honor it shares with the CP/M-based Osborne 1 and the MS-DOS-based (but not IBM PC compatible) Hyperion 3032.
The 28 lbs (12.5 kg) of computer that made up the Compaq Portable folded up into a luggable case the size of a portable sewing machine. Compaq sold 53,000 units in the first year and set revenue records for American businesses in its first three years of operation.
The Compaq Portable had basically the same hardware as an IBM PC, transplanted into a luggable case. The system came with 128 kilobytes of memory (expandable to 640K), two 5.25" floppy disk drives, a built-in 9" green screen monitor (a very sharp double-scanning one) and a special CGA-compatible display card well suited for displaying graphics from the spreadsheet software driving computer sales at the time.
Compaq's efforts were possible because IBM had used mostly "off the shelf" parts for their PC, and because Microsoft had kept the right to license MS-DOS to other computer manufacturers. The only part which had to be copied was the BIOS, which Compaq did legally by reverse-engineering it at a cost of $1 million. Numerous other companies soon followed their lead.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details