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Acorn A4 Laptop (Prototype 1 of 7)

This is one of the original 7 prototype Acorn A4 Laptop computers. Kindly donated by Mike Hill.

The machine was later launched in June 1992 and it was their only portable computer. Reportedly based on the A5000 (or may be vice versa) the A4 has the footprint of a sheet of A4 paper (hence the name) and weighs about 3 kg. The A4 came with a carry case with space for the external power supply, manuals and a mouse. The A4 has an ARM3 CPU clocked at 24MHz, 4MB RAM and a 640x480 16 greyscale screen.

The operating system (RISC OS 3.10) was located in the 2 MB ROM. The 9'' LCD screen could only display 14 shades of grey, but used a clever dithering system to make more shades apparent. 

K/Board 84 keys with arrow keys
CPU ARM 3 (with 4 KB of internal RAM cache)
24 mHz (internal CPU) and 12 mHz (bus)
ROM   2 MB
Text: Max : 132 x 30
Graphics: 47 graphic modes, maximum 640 x 480 with LCD screen and up to 1152 x 896 with VGA screen
Screen 14 shades of grey (LCD screen)
Sound: 8 voices (stereo 8 bit)
I/O Ports: VGA, Centronics, RS232 C, stereo sound, Mouse, Keyboard
Drive: 3.5'' disk-drive
Cost: £1395 (2Mb floppy version) up to £1895 (4Mb HD120 version)

Manufacturer: Acorn Computers
Date: 1992

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Acorn A4 Laptop (Prototype 1 of 7) Manuals:

Item Manufacturer Date
Acorn A4 - Welcome Guide Acorn Computers Ltd Apr 1992

Other Systems Related To Acorn A4 Laptop (Prototype 1 of 7):

Item Manufacturer Date
Acorn 6502 Microcomputer Board Acorn Computers Ltd 1979
Acorn System 1 Acorn Computers March 1979
Acorn System 1 Acorn Computers Ltd March 1979
Acorn BBC Micro Model A (Issue 2 Board) Acorn Computers Ltd 1981
Busicomputers Prophet 3 Acorn Computers Ltd 1982
Acorn System 4 Acorn Computers Ltd 1982
Acorn Business Computer (ABC) (Prototype) Acorn Computers 1983
Acorn System 5 Acorn Computers Ltd 1983
Acorn Electron (Trial ROM From Astec) Acorn Computers Ltd May 1983
Acorn Electron (Trial ROM) Acorn Computers Ltd July 1983
Acorn Econet Terminal Acorn Computers Ltd 1986
BBC Master Used on Microlive Acorn Computers 1986
Acorn BBC Domesday System Acorn Computers Limited 1986
Acorn - BT Merlin M2105 Acorn Computers / British Telecom 13th May 1986
Acorn BBC Master Compact Prototype Acorn Computers September 1986
Acorn AEH02 Archimedes NSM Acorn Computers Ltd 1987
Acorn Archimedes 440 Acorn Computers July 1987
Acorn Archimedes A440/1 Acorn Computers May 1989
Acorn R260 Acorn Computers 1990
Acorn Risc PC 600 Prototype Motherboard Acorn Computers 1994
Acorn RISC PC 600 - Prototype Acorn Computers 1995
Acorn Stork Notebook Acorn Computers Ltd 1996
Acorn Fast NC - Serial Number 1 Acorn Computers Ltd 1996
Acorn Phoebe Acorn Computers 1998
Acorn DeskLite Prototype Acorn Computers June 1998

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH43777. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Acorn A4 Laptop (Prototype 1 of 7)

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