Released in April, 1981, the Osborne 1 computer and its successors were significant innovations on the path to the personal computer industry, being the first commercially mass produced, portable personal computer. Prior to the Osborne 1, microcomputers such as the Altair 8800 or the Apple II came either as "home brew" kits or complete units designed to sit on (or under) a desk. These computers could easily be relocated but it was the Osborne that brought the complete concept of a computer built into a "suitcase" (even sporting a handle!) that created the commercially successful genre of portable computers. There were some notable precursor prototypes which were designed to be carried using some kind of suitcase-like packaging including the Notetaker designed by Alan Kay at Xerox (which was reputed to have inspired Adam Osborne, then a publisher of computer books, to create the Osborne computer) and Daniel Kottke's portable musical computer (1980). Following the success of the Osborne 1, Osborne Computer Corporation went on to ship several more models including the Executive and Vixen. Competitors appeared to Osborne almost immediately, including GRiD with its Compass and the ubiquitous Kaypro computers.
This page at the Digibarn is designed to collect together all of our Osborne artifacts and give you some pointers to excellent Osborne resources around the web.
The Digibarn's Artifacts from Osborne Computer Corporation
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