16 breakthrough notebooks: a look back

From the first prototype portable computer in 1968 to the OLPC XO (an inspiration for netbooks) to the CrunchPad Web tablet of the near future, these 16 notebooks mark important stages in the progress of laptops.

Grid Compass 1100



The 12-pound Grid Compass 1100--the first computer to use a fold-up, clamshell case--brings us closer to a modern-looking laptop design. Originally designed for NASA and available to consumers in 1982, the Compass 1100 carried 340KB of memory and cost about $8000 including software and a mandatory maintenance agreement. Despite its place in laptop history, the Grid didn't survive long in the marketplace because it wasn't IBM compatible.

Photo credit: Grid Compass 1100 public domain

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