What a laptop personal computer is and precedence of Toshiba T-1100

First of all, congratulations for the investigation carried out about the state of the art of portable computers at the time Toshiba T-1100 was released. In my opinion, it is a very detailed study that must call our attention to be careful with the claim of this Milestone.

From the information provided, it seems that there were different portable computers before Toshiba T-1100 that deserve to be considered as “laptop computers”, although none of them could be considered “personal computers”, it is defended.

The “personal” concept is a very sensitive factor, indeed, to the aim of this Milestone. Eighties was still an age when IBM-compatibility did not always mean an assurance that all software developed for IBM PC would work in other compatible computers. For instance, in k.hsb’s post is said that DG-1 computer (Data General) is not IBM PC compatible because it came with a built-in 3.5’’ Floppy Disc Drive, when most of key IBM PC software at that time was supplied on 5.25’’ Floppy Discs. So users can not use that software on DG-1 without an external 5.25’’ Floppy Disc Drive. In my opinion, this is not a clear reason to reject a computer as IBM PC compatible. As well as, it is not an enough reason, in my understanding, to have a smaller screen than IBM PC for a computer not to be considered a “true” IBM PC compatible, as it is held in case of PC-5000 (Sharp) and Encore (Osborne), or not to have a built-in Floppy Disc Drive, as it happens in case of Dulmont Magnum (Dulmison). By the way, this last one had a built-in 256 Kb CMOS RAM memory, which could be allocated as a memory disc drive and used to store files like a conventional disk.

Taking again the five requirements of a portable computer to become considered a laptop personal computer shown in my last post, the first four of them have relation with the “laptop” concept, but only the fifth has to do with the “personal” concept. The “anywhere-anytime-anyone” paradigm used to defend the precedence of Toshiba T-1100 has much more to do with the “laptop” concept, so putting it forward to defend the precedence of Toshiba T-1100 could be an argument for the IEEE History Committee to reject the Milestone as it is claimed. So, my recommendation as Milestone’s advocate would be to change the claim and the citation of the Milestone by not using the word “first”.

Just a final remark, characteristics of Toshiba T-1100 in the list of Early Laptops are not coincident with the original brochure. In according to this one, size of Toshiba T-1100 was 311 x 305 x 66 mm, instead of 310 x 300 x 67 mm, it weighted 4.10 Kg., instead of 4.00 Kg., and the resolution of the display was 640 x 200 pixels, instead of 640 x 420 pixels.

Apyuste09:13, 2 August 2012