HP’s First Laptop: The HP-110

In our on-going series looking at classic computing devices birthed at HP, we see not only what they did, but also give a better sense of what was happening at the time each product came to market. (For a full explanation of why we’re calling this “Tales from the Next Bench,” read here).

 

036threeqtr_tcm_245_925885.jpgThis installment: The HP-110 (1984)

 

Considering how HP rolled out a truckload of new notebooks just last week, it’s only appropriate that we hop into the wayback machine to see how things were not-so-long ago. In films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, the future included things such as laptops and small, portable flat screen devices. Points for getting close. That said, the HP-110 – HP's first laptop computer – was an industry breakthrough when it came out in 1984.

 

Weighing in at a “mere” 8-1/2 pounds, this notebook-sized computer boasted a 16-bit IBM PC-compatible processor. Take that, 2-pound HP Mini!

 

With 384K ROM and 272K RAM, the HP-110 had the largest amount of memory available in a portable computer when it was introduced. Because it ran MS-DOS, it could be linked with an IBM PC or the HP-150 touchscreen computer. In short, even back then, there was a clear vision of seeing multiple computers in the home and a uniform way for them to easily work together.

 

Aimed at less technical users than the HP-85 or the HP-75 computers were, it cost $2,995. I suppose that’s a small price to be paid for portability at a time when people still wrangled with the idea of using a mouse to control a computer.

 

What else was happening in 1984? Besides Apple riffing on Orwell’s vision of the future in the first Mac ads, a couple other things happened. Sony and Philips invented CD-ROM technology and sold the first players. Terminators that resembled the California-state governor started coming back from the future to halt humanity. The space shuttle Discovery launches and inside the same year, we saw the first ever flight in space by humans using flight packs. And for fans of all those CSI TV shows: DNA profiling was first invented in 1984. Guess that whole Orwellian future wasn’t that far off-base, after all.

 

Additional Information:

A preview of the HP-110 from Byte magazine.

Comments
by enzo gibbons
on ‎05-24-2010 07:25 AM

that computer looks like a type writer which is preety old 

by Dave Blanchard
on ‎05-30-2010 04:02 PM

I was the product manager on the successor to the HP 110, (the"Portable Plus"). I was part of the introduction of the 110 at CES in Chicago in 1984. Of course, on the way to the show I had a 110 but kept it under wraps. On the way home though, I took it out on the airplane and got quite a few surprised looks and "What's that?" queries. I was one fo the first people in the world to ever use a laptop on an airplane. A common occurance today...

 

 

by Kat - For the Love of Chaos
on ‎05-31-2010 02:49 PM - last edited on ‎06-01-2010 02:16 PM by Frosty

LOL! Wowwww... considering what we're used to when it comes to laptops now, that thing looks like a child's toy! Smiley Happy haha HP is an awesome company! Thanks for the 'wayback" post - very interesting!

by michael Boxer
on ‎06-07-2010 09:07 AM

Dave I worked for Manhattan Office Products back then as the first HP dealership in NYC and remember selling a ton of these. To bad HP's marketing back then was really non existent being they were coming from the engineering world. Were and are to this day my only computer company which I would buy from. 

by GizmoGladstone
on ‎06-08-2010 09:15 AM

Hey Dave,

 

That's an awesome story about first introducing the 110! I'd love to hear more about the experience. Drop me a pm here sometime!

 

Cheers,

 

Darren Gladstone (nerd blogging on behalf of HP)

by AFinnie
on ‎07-01-2010 01:53 PM

Sorry that I'm behind, I'm just catching up on the comments. Dave and Michael, it's always great to hear stories from HP alumni. Thanks very much!

by david
on ‎08-24-2010 12:30 AM

Wow..really amazing technology.. i have  a HP  laptop,but this model looks awesome. Thnaks for tha information .I will love to have this with me.

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by Frank Myrda
on ‎04-07-2011 01:13 AM
It's interesting to hear about HP110. I have a machine but no parts to repair it. So i'm locking for a source of parts. Is there somebody who knows one? regards fran
by Clifford
on ‎11-26-2011 11:20 PM

I have one of these which I no longer wish to store, in Melbourne Australia. No power adapter. Use the white pages to find me if you want this piece of history.

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