Astronaut John Creighton posing with a Grid Compass aboard a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 1985. It displays Mr. Spock of Star Trek
|Release date||April 1982|
|Introductory price||8150 USD |
|Memory||340 KB magnetic bubble|
|Display||320 x 240|
|Connectivity||19-pin "serial", Telephone Line+Audio 1,200 bit/s modem, GPIB|
|Predecessor||Xerox PARC Dynabook|
The computer was designed by British industrial designer Bill Moggridge in 1979, and first sold three years later. The design used a clamshell case (where the screen folds flat to the rest of the computer when closed), which was made from a magnesium alloy. The computer featured an Intel 8086 processor, a 320 × 240-pixel electroluminescent display, 340-kilobyte magnetic bubble memory, and a 1,200 bit/s modem. Devices such as hard drives and floppy drives could be connected via the IEEE-488 I/O (also known as the GPIB or General Purpose Instrumentation Bus). This port made it possible to connect multiple devices to the addressable device bus. It weighed 5 kg (11 lb). The power input is ~110/220 V AC, 47–66 Hz, 75 W.
The Compass ran its own operating system, GRiD-OS. Its specialized software and high price (8–10,000 USD) meant that it was limited to specialized applications. The main buyer was the U.S. government. NASA used it on the Space Shuttle during the early 1980s, as it was both powerful and lightweight. The military Special Forces also purchased the machine, as it could be used by paratroopers in combat.
Along with the Gavilan SC and Sharp PC-5000 released the following year, the GRiD Compass established much of the basic design of subsequent laptop computers, although the laptop concept itself owed much to the Dynabook project developed at Xerox PARC from the late 1960s. The Compass company subsequently earned significant returns on its patent rights as its innovations became commonplace.
The portable Osborne 1 computer sold at around the same time as the GRiD, was more affordable and more popular, and ran the popular CP/M operating system. But, unlike the Compass, the Osborne was not a laptop and lacked the Compass's refinement and small size.
- The model 1100 did not exist, except in marketing materials; the released machine was the model 1101.
- "World's first laptop. Osborne 1 GRiD Compass 1101". The Longest list of the longest stuff at the longest domain name at long last. Retrieved 2009‐5‐19.
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- "Pioneering the Laptop – The GRiD Compass", YouTube, Google.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: GRiD Systems Corporation|
- GRiD, UK.
- "GRiD Compass 1101", Old computers.
- GRiD (FTP), Ari Service — see Grid (plain text).
- Clare, "GRiDs in Space", Net magic.
- "GRiD", Old computers (museum).
- Hrothgar, "GRiD Compass", Cool Old Junk, Total.
- "Engineering the GRiD Compass", Video, Google.
- Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. "GRiD Compass". Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved 10 October 2012.