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.