Xerox NoteTaker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Xerox NoteTaker
DeveloperXerox PARC
TypePortable computer
Release date1978 (1978)
Introductory price50000 US$ (today $195994.9)
Units shipped10 prototypes only[1]
Operating systemSmalltalk
CPUIntel 8086 @ 5 MHz[2]
Memory256 kBRAM
StorageFloppy disk drive
Display7 inch (18cm) built-in touch-sensitive monochrome display monitor[3]
SoundStereo Speakers[3]
InputFolded out keyboard, Microphone[3]
Controller inputMouse
ConnectivityEthernet Board[3]
PowerRechargeable battery[3]
Dimensions2 1/2 x 21 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.[4]
Mass22 kg (48 lb)

The Xerox NoteTaker is a portable computer developed at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, California, in 1978. Although it did not enter production, and only around ten prototypes were built, it strongly influenced the design of the later Osborne 1 and Compaq Portable computers.[1]


The NoteTaker was developed by a team that included Adele Goldberg, Douglas Fairbairn, and Larry Tesler.[5] It drew heavily on earlier research by Alan Kay, who had previously developed the Dynabook project. While the Dynabook was a concept for a transportable computer that was impossible to implement with available technology, the NoteTaker was intended to show what could be done.


The computer employed what was then highly advanced technology, including a built-in monochrome display monitor, a floppy disk drive and a mouse. It had 256 kB of RAM, then a very large amount, and used a 5 MHz Intel 8086 CPU.[2] It used a version of the Smalltalk operating system that was originally written for the Xerox Alto computer, which pioneered the graphical user interface.

The NoteTaker fitted into a case similar in form to that of a portable sewing machine; the keyboard folded out from the bottom to reveal the monitor and floppy drive. The form factor was later used on the highly successful "luggable" computers, including the Osborne 1 and Compaq Portable. However, these later models were about half as heavy as the NoteTaker, which weighed 22 kg (48 lb).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Personal Computers". Archived from the original on February 17, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) from the Computer History Museum
  2. ^ a b Alan C. Kay: The Early History of Smalltalk. In: Proceedings of HOPL II. "ACM SIGPLAN notices", Vol. 28, No. 3, March 1993, Association for Computing Machinery, New York, pp. 69
  3. ^ a b c d e Xerox NoteTaker, page 99, Computer, By Paul Atkinson
  4. ^ Xerox Notetaker - CHM Revolution
  5. ^ To no avail, for several months he tried to get bosses to turn the NoteTaker portable computer the team had been working on into a commercial release. When they ignored him, Tesler left., page 161, The Apple Revolution: Steve Jobs, the counterculture and how the crazy ones ..., By Luke Dormehl

External links[edit]