Osborne 1

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The Osborne 1 was the first widely accepted portable computer that included a monitor, disk drives and all components. However, it did not include a battery and required plugging into a mains socket. A battery pack later became available which offered one hour of usage. The Osborne 1 was introduced in 1981 at the West Coast Computer Faire.

The portable computer was based on the Z80A CPU which ran at 4MHz, had 64K RAM and 4K ROM, a 5-inch display screen, two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives and a detachable, full-sized keyboard. It also features IEEE and RS-232C interfaces. The Osborne weighed 24 pounds (10kg) and ran the CP/M operating system. It sold for $1,795 or £1250+VAT, which included Micropro's Wordstar software.

The Osborne 1 was very popular. In 1982, over 125,000 Osborne computers were sold and in 1983 Osborne announced that it would produce an IBM compatible portable computer, to be called the "Vixen."  However, Compaq Computers beat Osborne to the market with their own IBM compatible machine. Osborne 1 sales dropped off as people waited for the "Vixen" and Osborne Computers went into bankruptcy.

The "Osborne effect" is a business term of customers stopping buying the current product as a drawback of a company announcing a future product prematurely. Coined after the Vixen debacle, the sales of the Osborne 1 nose dived after the announcement of the new machine, which was no where near the end of its development.

This is the original design of the machine with more exposed disk drives, and an Alpha key instead of caps lock, it also has a black and white screen.

Manufacturer: Osborne
Date: 1981

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Osborne 1 Manuals:

Item Manufacturer Date
Osborne WordStar with MailMerge MicroPro Unknown
Osborne Spellguard Osborne 1980
Osborne 1 User's Reference Guide Osborne Computer Corporation 1981
Osborne 1 Users Reference Guide Osborne Computer Corporation 1981
Osborne Mailman Osborne 1981
Osborne System Checker Osborne 1981
Osborne Documate/Plus Osborne 1981
Osborne Footnote Osborne 1981
Osborne Micro Link Osborne 1981
Osborne Math Osborne 1981
Osborne Grammatik Osborne 1981
Osborne Enumerator Osborne 1982
Osborne 1 Double Density User's Manual MicroPro 22 Dec 1982
Osborne System Software Upgrade No 1 Osborne 1983

Magazines RELATED to Osborne 1 in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Personal Computer World - November 1981 Nov 1981

Other Systems Related To Osborne 1:

Item Manufacturer Date
Osborne 01 Osborne 1982
Osborne 5 (Prototype) Osborne (Mikrolog Ltd) 1984

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH504. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Osborne 1

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