|Developer||Designed by Bill Moggridge|
|Manufacturer||GRiD Systems Corp.|
|Release date||April 1982|
|Introductory price||US$8,150 (equivalent to $24,710 in 2022)|
|Operating system||CCOS (Compass Computer Operating System), optionally MS-DOS 2|
|Memory||340 KB magnetic bubble|
|Display||320 × 240|
|Connectivity||19-pin "serial", Telephone line+Audio 1,200 bit/s modem, GPIB|
|Successor||Grid GRiDCASE 2|
Development began in 1979, and the main buyer was the U.S. government. NASA used it on the Space Shuttle during the early 1980s, as it was powerful, lightweight, and compact. 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 Compass ran its own operating system, GRiD-OS. Its specialized software and high price (US$8,000–$10,000) meant that it was limited to specialized applications.
The initial model, the 1101, was introduced in April 1982; The 1100 model designation were never released commercially, but featured in some pre-release marketing material. The computer was designed by British industrial designer Bill Moggridge.
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 1200 bit/s modem. Devices such as hard drives and floppy drives could be connected via the IEEE-488 I/O (also known as GPIB or General Purpose Interface 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 II was released in 1984; known as 1121, 1129, 1131 and 1139 models.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2021)
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