Osborne 1 - The First Laptop Ever

The Osborne's design was based largely on the Xerox NoteTaker, a prototype developed at Xerox PARC in 1976 by Alan Kay.[3] The Osborne 1 was developed by Adam Osborneand designed by Lee Felsenstein. It was first announced in April 1981. Adam Osborne, an author of computer books, decided he wanted to break the price of computers.

The computer was designed to be portable, with a rugged ABS plastic case that closed up and a handle.[4] The Osborne 1 was about the size and weight of a sewing machine and was advertised as the only computer that would fit underneath an airline seat.[2] It is now classified as a "luggable" computer when compared to later laptop designs such as theEpson HX-20.

Despite its unattractive design and heavy weight—it resembled "a cross between a World War II field radio and a shrunken instrument panel of a DC-3",[5] and Felstenstein confessed that carrying two units four blocks to a trade show "nearly pulled my arms out of their sockets"[6]—in the first eight months after April 1981, when the Osborne 1 was announced, the company sold 11,000 units.[7] Sales at their peak reached 10,000 units per month.[7] In September 1981, Osborne Computer Company had its first US$1 million sales month. Sales of the Osborne 1 were hurt by the company's premature announcement of superior successor machines such as the Osborne Executive,[8] a phenomenon later called the Osborne effect.