16 Breakthrough Laptops: From Prototype Portables to Tantalizing Tablets

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IBM PC Convertible: By 1985, many tech watchers wondered whether the laptop concept would survive. In a New York Times article, Erik Sandberg-Diment asked, "Whatever happened to the laptop computer?" Sandberg-Diment noted a decline in the number of laptops he saw on airline flights to the Comdex computer show in consecutive years between 1983 and 1985, and asked if this “latest fad" was on its way out. But everything changed in 1986, when the IBM PC Convertible hit store shelves. Priced at $1995, the PC Convertible was the first commercially successful laptop--and the first IBM device to carry a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive.

The IBM PC Convertible weighed 12 pounds--2 pounds more than the Grid Compass 1100. It came configured with 256KB of memory, two 3.5-inch floppy drives, an LCD display, printer ports, and a basic software suite.

Photo Credit: IBM PC Convertible Fred Jan Kraan

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