Who Invented the Laptop Computer

Who invented the laptop? Who was the genius who enabled us to tap into the virtual world nearly anywhere we go? Whose hand should we shake to thank them for this wonderful invention? Well, the answer to the question "Who invented the laptop?" may vary depending on whom you ask and what qualifications you're using to define a laptop.

The Osbourne 1: As with nearly any technology, the laptop PC didn't come from one singular source, but rather was built upon the ideas of many. Some trace the first laptop back to the Osbourne 1, which was developed by book publisher turned computer engineer Adam Osbourne in 1981. The Osbourne 1 was portable, contained 2 floppy disk drives, had a fold-out keyboard and looked more like a piece of luggage than what we now expect out of a laptop. It had a tiny screen and weighed 24 pounds. With its high price tag and bulkiness, it never really had a chance.

The GRID Compass: The GRID Compass, designed by Bill Moggridge and released in 1982, was the next step forward. It featured a fold-out keyboard and flat screen display. Unlike the Osbourne, this design was lighter and looked more like modern laptop notebooks, though still a bit bulkier, and could run on battery power. The Compass came with an incredibly high price tag, which made it nearly unobtainable on the commercial market. However, the US government could afford them, and they were used by NASA.

The PC Convertible Laptop: In 1986, IBM created the PC Convertible laptop. This computer could fold up and run on batteries. It also contained a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. Like many of today's laptop computers, it also featured an LCD screen. This laptop was one of the first to feature applications for writing Word documents and scheduling appointments.

The 1980s was the decade that laptop technology became a feasible reality. Debate can be made over who gets credit for designing the first "true" laptop. But the advances made by Osbourne, Moggridge and others in the 1980s made it possible for the laptops of today to exist.

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