For almost 10 years, I’ve been looking for a truly portable computer to take into the field. But at 28 pounds, the first portables—the Osborne and the Kaypro—deserved the term “luggables;” it took a sumo wrestler or a defensive lineman to really feel comfortable car- rying them. The same was true for the first 32-pound Compaq “portable.”

The problem was the CRT. It was heavy—even Osborne’s 9-inch version—and together with the associated video circuitry it weighed almost as much as the rest of the computer. If only the ORT could be squashed flat, one supposed, the machine could become truly portable.

Soon, at under 10 pounds and less than $300, the Radio Shack Model 100 laptop with its eight-line liquid crystal display became the mainstay of the press box. But with only 32K of memory, and no disk drive, the Model 100 was really just an input device and not...

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