Osborne-1 The Osborne-1 was the worlds first truly portable computer, and was introduced in April 1981 and cost $1795. It had two full-height 90k floppy drives, though a later modification upgraded this to double density for a total of 160k. The built in screen is a very tiny 5" monochrome CRT, and is very difficult to read, though the contrast and brightness controls work very well. There is an external connection for a proprietary monitor, as well as a serial port, IEEE-488 interface, and a connection for a battery pack. The Osborne-1 uses CP/M 2.2 and came bundled with a large assortment of software, including Wordstar. This system was a huge overnight success and was follwed by the Osborne Executive, which increased the screen size to 7", used CP/M 3.0, and replaced the floppy drives with double density 5-1/4" half-height units. The Executive lacked the 1's external battery connector.

Osborne Computers didn't last very long, filing for bankruptcy in September 1983, and had a hard time keeping up with thier explosive growth. There are a number of theories as to why they went bankrupt, the two most prevailant being:

1) they made the mistake of pre-announcing the Executive while they had a wharehouse full of 1's, thus killing demand for the 1.

2) The 1 was poorly shielded and was classified as a Class-A computing device, and Osborne was having a hard time meeting the new FCC magnetic emission regulations and the investors decided to pull the plug.

Osborne Computers was founded by Adam Osborne after his publishing company, Osborne Books, was bought out by McGraw-Hill. The Osborne 1 was designed for Osborne by Lee Felsenstein, who also helped create the Processor Technology SOL.

The Osborne 1 in my collection is of the later variety, with the more rigid case, double-density disk drive upgrade, and the internal 300bps modem. It was gotten directly from an ex-Osborne salesperson who had owned it since it was new and used it primarily for Wordstar.

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