Modern laptops continue to get more powerful and smaller in size, but we can’t forget about the predecessors that led to the notebooks that we have today. PCWorld put together an article outlining the top-10 most important laptops of all time where they outline the significance of each one. So what laptops made the list?
- First True Laptop: Epson’s HX-20 (1981)
This shipped with a flattering 50-hour battery, 614 Hz dual processors, 16K of RAM, and only weighed 3.5lbs! The LCD only showed four-lines of text at a time, which probably made gaming a little difficult. :)
- First Popular Laptop: Tandy’s TRS-80 Model 100 (1983)
Used four AA batteries to stretch out 18-hours of battery life, which wasn’t bad for a cost of just $800! There has been no confirmation, but this is supposedly the last system that shipped using code actually written by Bill Gates.
- First Portable PC Running a 386 Processor: Compaq’s Portable 386 (1987)
If you had the $12,000 to drop on this sucker you would walk away with a 20MHz chick magnet that had the 386 processor in it. Of course you better be in shape to lug this 20lbs machine around.
- First Convertible Tablet: GRiD Systems’ 2260 (1992)
Looks like Tablet PC’s have been around a little longer than you thought!
- First Thin-and-Light Notebook: DEC’s HiNote Ultra (1994)
A whopping 4MB of RAM, 340MB hard drive, trackball mouse, Windows 3.11, and just a mere 3.5lbs standing in at an inch thick.
- First Notebook With a Touchpad: Apple’s PowerBook 520 (1994)
Relief from the trackball mouse initially came from an Apple! I remember getting my hands on a touchpad when they were first developed (it was a Gateway laptop with trackball and touchpad), and my initial thought was how that would be successful. It seemed to be so inconvenient to use until you really started to get used to it.
- First Laptop to Use a Lithium Ion Battery: Toshiba’s Portege T3400 (1995)
Out with the Nickel-Metal Hydride and in with the Lithium Ion! You no longer had to worry about completely draining the battery because of the "memory effects" that plagued so many people. The introduction of the Lithium Ion battery 12-years ago brought a 4-hour battery life…which isn’t all that different than what we get today.
- First Wireless-Enabled Laptop: Apple’s iBook (1999)
External wireless cards are virtually non-existent these days since it is built-in to nearly every electronic device we use. I can hardly count all of the times I almost snapped my wireless card off of my laptop since it protruded so much out the side. :)
- First Gaming Notebook: WidowPC’s Sting 917X2 (2005)
This dual-core AMD X2 laptop might not be the battery lover you would like, but it sure makes going to LAN parties a little easier. Of course there still isn’t really a laptop that can match the gaming performance of a nice desktop.
- First Serious PC Killer: Apple’s MacBook Pro (2006)
Now that this can run both Windows and the Mac OS (using Boot Camp), it is quickly becoming the notebook choice for many users.
So there you have it…the top 10 most important laptops that have ever been released. For the most part I would say that I agree with them, but what I’m really looking forward to is hearing what you have to say about your experience with the older-generation notebook computers.
Drop a comment below and let us know what your first laptop computer was and what you thought about it!