The first clamshell laptop and the first iPad

by Mike Evans

We take laptops so much for granted these days that we forget the concept is only 30 years old. The Grid Compass 1101, introduced in 1982, was the first portable computer to have the now-familiar clamshell design with the screen in the lid and the keyboard on the base. This article in TIME’s Techland section carries the full story.

The Radio Shack TRS-80 was actually a very good way of achieving fast text input in a portable package.There had been portables before; but most had been hefty two-piece designs such as the Osborne 1 and the Compaq Portable. I was always first in line for any new form of portable computing but, at the time, I couldn’t afford the Osborne 1 when it caught my eye. Instead I settled for the Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1, released in 1983. This was far more portable and, I suppose, it was the iPad of its day. 

As a way of gathering text in a convenient package, the TRS-80 was unbeatable at the time. It had a good keyboard but a non-backlit text-only screen which was only eight lines deep. Nonetheless, it was possible get up a good speed, despite the disturbing clackety-clack of the keyboard (Shawn Blanc would have loved it). Getting the text from the Tandy into Microsoft Word on our CP/M Apricot computers was something of a hit-or-miss affair. What I would have given for wi-fi and Dropbox.

(Via Techland, TIME.com)