Classic "Laptops"

From: <(>
Date: Mon Nov 10 10:05:55 1997

> <I've recently heard of someone who told me about an 8080 laptop from
> <someone who has been into computers longer than I have. He said that
> <there was a laptop... in the 1970's, that was smaller than the origional
> <Compaq. It was soupossed to only have a little RAM, and it was used by
> <journalists, who would connect with a modem an upload the files. Is
> <this true? If so, what on earth ever happened to these? (Does this
> <sound like something else... H/PC come to mind?
> Sounds bogus. The small laptops using 8080 (actually 8085) were the tandy
> M-100s and there were also the Epson and NEC but none were before 1979.
> I did a quick flip through my Kbaud and Byte for 76-80 and there were no
> adverts for anything laptop other than a hand terminal that used a 4bit
> part.

I wonder. A few weeks ago I bought for L1 at a car boot sale a device
called a Microscribe 320. (Made by a Welsh company, Microscribe Ltd.,
but sold with a British Telecom badge.) This is a sub-notebook (7 in
square) terminal with built in text editor, 32K battery backed RAM and
40 x 8 character display. Before you all jump on me, yes, I know it was
built circa 1983. It is a very nice machine, the only thing wrong with
it being the small keyboard. Fortunately I don't touch type - FWIW I
use the index and middle fingers of each hand and am as fast as most of
the touch typers I know who aren't professional typists.

The reason I am replying is that shortly after I posted about it here
(and had a brief conversation with Tony Duell about how to power it up)
I received an e-mail from one Adrian Godwin, who had seen my posting,
and who also had a microscribe, and wanted to compare notes. In the end
we concluded that his was an earlier model than mine (less RAM, smaller
screen). So when did these start being made? Was there an even earlier
model right back in the seventies?

I would also like to thank Adrian (if he is reading this) who, when he
obtained a Microscribe manual, and discovered it was for mine and not
his, sent me a copy for free. The world needs more people like this!

On the subject of early laptops in general, I have heard much in praise
of the Tandy model 100, but I like the Epson HX20 which has everything
you could possibly want in a laptop except a decent sized screen!

Received on Mon Nov 10 1997 - 10:05:55 GMT

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