Looking Back on How Laptops Evolved Over a Period of Time

They are found almost everywhere now. People carry them like they were carrying their briefcases and handbags. You can find them in different sizes, shapes and colors. They are the present day laptops. About 25 years back, any person seen with a laptop was thought of as a whiz kid. It’s doubtful if you will ever get to see that model of laptop nowadays.

Apple_Powerbook_100 Asus eee pc 700 ipad osborne1 TRS Model 200

People were in some way expecting that they would sooner or later get more sophisticated and compact since the time personal computers were released in the 1970s. We have been seeing portable computers since 1975 and we also are a witness to the changes in their shape, color, size and functions. The IBM 5100 was the first model of portable computer that had come in the market with a 5 inch CRT screen and a keyboard. The keyboard had a built in number pad. This was the only nearest comparison that could be made with the later day laptops.

The initial models

A few years later, Adam Osborne founded the Osborne 1 in 1981. It weighed 24 pounds, had a 5 inch display with modem port and two 5 ¼ floppy drives with many software programs and a battery pack but the company itself closed down soon.

The TRS-80 Model 100 was developed in 1982 by Microsoft with Kyocera and Tandy. It could be said to be the first step towards evolution of laptops. This Radio Shack TRS-80 model was designed like a notebook and had a LCD display. Though it was not as fast as a micro computer, it was faster than the other laptops that were its competitors. The LCD screen was a tiltable 8 line and 40 character screen with a full keyboard. Had an inbuilt modem and with a good battery support.

IBM came out with the 5155 Portable Personal Computer, which was its version of a laptop in 1984. It had a 640K RAM and two double sided drives. But Radio Shack again came up with their new TRS-80 Model 200 that was better with a larger display and more compact.

Newer Versions

The year 1988 saw the laptops evolution take another stride as the new versions were able to support graphics too, other than the text. They became more popular as they became smaller in size and lighter in weight. VGA resolutions and variety of color screens came and progressed.

Compaq in 1988 came up with its SLT 286 that created a sensation with its speed and VGA graphics. It also had a detachable keyboard. It had storage of 20 MB or 40 MB mounted drives. While the Compaq was creating ripples, Apple Inc came out with its surprise baby, the Mackintosh Portable in 1989. In 1990, it added a bonus for its customers by offering backlit keyboard. With the RAM of 1MB that could be expanded to 9 MB and upgradeable operating system and only 10 cm in thickness.

Apple’s Dominance

Apple dominated the market in the nineties with their Powerbook laptops. The first was the PowerBook 100 series launched in three models – the PowerBook 100, 140 and 170. All three were released in the market simultaneously and created a sensation in the market. The series was replaced with the PowerBook 145, 160 and 180 in 1992. The latter two models had video output that gave them access to an external monitor.

Apple next introduced the PowerBook Duo streamlining the Apple 100 and was much smaller and lighter in weight. Again later in 1994 it came out with the “Blackbird” PowerBook 500 series. Soon the entire PowerBook series was replaced by the Mac series. The year 1999 saw Apple come out with wireless enabled laptop -The iBook

Many of the present day laptops are similar to look at though each has some change or the other. Large screens, with better resolutions, blue tooth, Blu-ray drives, SSD hard discs, and other features like Wi-Fi are all common in most of the laptops.


The second half of the 2000s saw the emergence of netbooks. These are smaller in size but more portable than the normal laptops. Along with the Wi-Fi capabilities, these netbooks have built-in mobile broadband connection options. Asus Eee PC 700 was the first netbook to be launched in the year 2007. They were much cheaper when compared to the other laptops.

iPad a replacement to laptops?

When people saw the iPad, they thought it was a larger iPhone but after three years the tablet market is still blooming. Many feel the tablets would soon replace laptops and PCs. It may not be a fact but the opinion of certain tablet lovers.

Having witnessed the tremendous changes and improvements in the laptops in the past three decades or more, we can just say the day is not far when both tablets and iPhone too grow obsolete.

Story sourced from www.pricedekho.com