16 Breakthrough Laptops: From Prototype Portables to Tantalizing Tablets

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Grid Compass 1100

Grid Compass 1100: The 12-pound Grid Compass 1100--the first computer to use a fold-up, clamshell case--brings us closer to a modern-looking laptop design. Originally designed for NASA and available to consumers in 1982, the Compass 1100 carried 340KB of memory and cost about $8000 including software and a mandatory maintenance agreement. Despite its place in laptop history, the Grid didn't survive long in the marketplace because it wasn't IBM compatible.

Photo credit: Grid Compass 1100 public domain

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