16 Breakthrough Laptops: From Prototype Portables to Tantalizing Tablets

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Hardware, laptop, MacBook

The Lithium Ion Battery

The Lithium Ion Battery: Early in 1994, a year and a half before Windows 95 debuted, Toshiba came out with the first two models in its Portege T3400 series: The $2599 T3400 carried a monochrome screen, the $3900 T3400CT sported an active-matrix color screen, and both ran Windows 3.1. Advertised as subnotebooks, the new Porteges had a slim look, a fashionable gray case color, and a high-powered lithium ion battery--considered "the latest in mobile energy technology."

Thanks to the new battery, Toshiba asserted that the T3400 would provide up to 6 hours of computing time on a single charge. The battery could fully recharge in 3 hours with the machine switched off, or in 8 to 10 hours with the machine in operation.

The Portege T3400 series models weighed 4 pounds and packed a 486SX processor, 4MB RAM (expandable to 20MB), and a 120MB hard drive. They also featured a PCMCIA expansion slot for extra memory. A contemporaneous Toshiba brochure [PDF] covers the essential points of the machine's appeal: compactness, usability, mobile power, status. Nothing much has changed on that front over the years.

Photo credit: Toshiba T3400 Ian Johnston

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