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Osborne 1a (later "blue" version)

See below for specifications and information on this system.

Specifications and information

Key Dates: Announced April 1981
Original Price: $1800 ($1295 in 1982)
CPU: Zilog Z-80A
Memory: 64K RAM
Operating System: CP/M
Display: 52 characters by 24 lines, text only
Input/Output: Dual internal 5 1/4" 182K floppy disk drives (original version 100K drives); serial port; detachable keyboard; built-in 5" green monochrome monitor; optional internal 300 baud direct-connect modem; optional port for external composite monitor
Weight: 24 1/2 lbs
Bus: None
Other Items in Collection: Documentation; CP/M system disks
Items Needed: Bundled software

The Osborne 1 was the original mass-market portable computer, and pioneered the "luggable" form-factor with the detachable keyboard forming a lid on one end of the machine.

The Osborne shipped with a prodigious bundle of software that made the machine a terrific deal at the time. It was incredibly usable and fairly rugged (once the original Osborne 1 thin plastic case was replaced by a solid ABS case in the "Osborne 1a" version shown here).

I've always had a soft spot for this machine. It's a really elegant design, though some criticize its tiny 5" monitor. The included version of CP/M could read a dozen diskette formats, which was really helpful. The Osborne 1 was replaced by the Osborne Executive in 1983.

The Osborne 1's major competitor was the Kaypro 2, with a 9" display in a similar package.

Osborne 1a Advertisement, circa 1982:

Osborne1a_Ad.jpg (9951 bytes)

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Last modified: April 17, 2003