Osborne Executive

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Osborne Executive
Evolution (34 365).jpg
Developer Adam Osborne
Type portable computer
Release date 1982
Introductory price US$2,495
Discontinued 1983 *Bankruptcy
Operating system CPM, CPM +
CPU Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
Memory 124KB

The Osborne Executive was the planned successor of the already commercially successful Osborne 1 portable computer by Osborne Computer Corporation. The Executive was a collection of the good features from the Osborne 1 and fixed some of its predecessor's flaws.

The Osborne Executive, like the Osborne 1, came with application software. The WordStar word processor, SuperCalc spreadsheet, and the CBASIC and MBASIC programming languages—all software packages that were the leading applications in their respective niches at the time—had a retail value of more than US$2,495.

The disk drives and built-in 7 inch amber CRT were covered by the keyboard when snapped on to the main case for transportation. Like the Osborne 1, the Executive could be supported by the keyboard at a convenient viewing angle. The Executive included a cooling fan, unlike the Osborne 1.

Software[edit]

The operating system was CP/M version 3.0. A complete listing of the ROM BIOS was available in the Osborne technical manual. Unlike version 2.2, this edition of CP/M supported bank switching memory; this allowed compatible programs to use more RAM. The UCSD P-system was also available.

Application and utility bundled software
Program Name Version Published by Program Type Date Part Number Number
of
Disks
Picture
Desolation B.C Software
Barry Campbell
Game 1984 1
Wordstar 3.3 Application
Supercalc 1.12 Application
Personal Pearl Application/Database

Compatibility[edit]

The CP/M BIOS of the Executive could automatically detect and use single-sided disks formatted in the following systems

Many CP/M systems of the time could not read diskettes formatted for any other brand (sometimes, for other models of the same brand) without using third-party special purpose interchange software. This built-in feature provided a useful amount of flexibility in exchanging data with other systems.

The Executive could also emulate certain models of computer terminal, which was useful for dial-up access to remote systems.

Use[edit]

The Osborne Executive was useful for presentations and projects at client sites. Unlike static presentations, the portable computer could provide on-the-spot answers to numerical questions when working with consulting clients. This laid the groundwork for the kind of 'show me the money' ROI or TCO presentations commonplace today.

A number of Executives had custom ROM's which were personalised when booted, name plates were also etched onto the casing.[1]

The Executive was only produced in limited numbers compared to the predecessor Osborne 1, before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The financial problems of the Osborne company were aggravated by early announcement of the Executive, which cut into sales of the Osborne 1. This so-called Osborne effect has become proverbial as a mistake that can be made by companies trading in high-technology products.

The company had announced yet another successor product, the Osborne Vixen, but went out of business before the Vixen could be established. An Osborne Executive II, using an 8088 processor, and providing MS-DOS and IBM PC compatibility, was announced but never produced.

Hardware[edit]

Features[edit]

The Osborne Executive was powered by a wall plug, and had no internal battery, although an aftermarket battery pack offering 1-hour run time was available.

Size[edit]

  • Width: 20.5 inches (52 cm)
  • Height: 9 inches (23 cm)
  • Depth: 13 inches (33 cm)
  • Weight 28 pounds (13 kg) [2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vintage Computing Website
  2. ^ Roy A. Allan A history of the personal computer: the people and the technology,Allan Publishing, 2001 ISBN 0-9689108-0-7 page 11-7

External links[edit]