|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: punctuation, style and syntax. (May 2011)|
The 1983 Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 was a battery-operated, portable, and operable computer resting in one's lap—but had an 32x8 character (240x64 pixel) screen, a rudimentary ROM-based menu in lieu of a full OS, and no built-in floppy. IBM's 1984 Portable PC was comparable in capability with desktops.
The nine-pound battery-powered 1984 Data General One ran MS-DOS, had dual 3½" diskettes, 79-key full-stroke keyboard, 128K to 512K of RAM, and a monochrome LCD screen capable of either the standard 80×25 characters or full CGA graphics (640×200). It was a laptop comparable in capabilities to desktops of the era.
The DG-1 was only a modest success. One problem was its use of 3½" diskettes—popular software titles were not available in this format yet (5.25 inch was still most common), a serious issue since then-common diskette copy-protection schemes made it difficult for users to copy the software into that format.
RS232 serial ports were built-in, compared with requiring an add-on card on most IBM-compatible PC's of the time, but the DG One laptop could not take regular PC/XT expansion cards and the CMOS (low battery consumption) serial I-O chip available at design time, the Intel 82C51, the CMOS version of the 8251 rather than the 8250 standard on serial add-on boards for the IBM PC and compatibles, so some software would not run correctly (or it have to use the relatively slow BIOS-supplied BIOS interrupt call 014h).
Video memory came out of that available for the operating system; if 256 kB of RAM was installed only 204 kbytes might be available to the operating system and user's programs.
Although Creative Computing termed the price of US$2895 "competitive," it was a very expensive system and usually-needed additions such as more RAM and an external 5¼" drive drove the price higher yet. The styling of the product, including a bag designed by Pierre Cardin, implied a more up-market buyer than many of the typical PC buyers of the time. The Data General One also had a built-in dumb terminal emulator, suggesting an attempt to attract as customers those in organisations with large, expensive minicomputers or mainframes that would access corporate data via terminals such as the ADM-3A or Data General's own Dasher terminals (the cost of the laptop would not have seemed excessive in such situations).
But the Achilles heel was the LC display itself, which was not backlit with had low contrast which was slightly enhanced by blue characters on a yellow background.