Computer History Video of the Week: The Laptop

In our last computer history video of the week, we talked about ENIAC—a computer that took up a whole room all by itself! Today let’s talk about the giant computer’s smaller descendants, the laptops.

This one is especially fun because it talks about the history of the device you’re probably reading this blog post on right now.

Did you know?

  • Early versions of the laptop in the 1970s cost around $9000—that’s around $41,000 today.
  • The first laptop to be called a ‘notebook’ came to market in 1988—18 years before the Apple MacBook!
  • Though we mostly remember running Windows 95 on desktops, its introduction was a big deal for laptop design.

I also found this catalog ad for the NEC Ultralite (the first laptop to approximate modern laptops in size and weight, and the aforementioned first laptop to be called a ‘notebook’). My favorite thing about this ad is the graph on the laptop screen, which looks like the product of an Excel spreadsheet. When the NEC Ultralite came out, Microsoft Excel would have only been available to consumers for about a year. Excel’s takeover of the PC software world just might be the star of a future computer history of the week post :).

nec ultralite

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