What a laptop personal computer is and precedence of Toshiba T-1100
This is the thread's initial revision.
This Milestone-Nomination claims Toshiba T-1100 computer as the first laptop personal computer. The underlined part of this statement is, for sure, the key issue here. So, before going ahead, it is first needed giving an answer to next questions:
- What a “laptop computer” is?
- What a “personal computer” is?
In according to Webster Dictionary, a laptop computer is a computer of a size and a design that makes operation and use on one’s lap convenient. Oxford Dictionary, for its part, comes into the portability issue when says that a laptop computer is a computer that is portable and suitable for use while travelling.
In case of looking up the term in a technical dictionary, a more precise definition can be found. So is it with the TechDictionary.com, for which a laptop computer is a computer that is small enough to fit in a person's lap, weighs less than eight pounds, usually has a flat screen and LCD display, and is powered by a rechargeable battery. Something similar can be found in the Network Dictionary, by Javvin Technologies (ISBN: 978-1-60267-000-6, 2007), for which a laptop computer is that one that usually runs on batteries, but also from an adapter which also charge the battery using mains electricity. And, it goes on by saying that laptops contain components that are similar to those in their desktop counterparts in order to perform the same functions, but are miniaturized and optimized for mobile use and efficient power consumption.
In referring the “personal computer” term, Webster Dictionary says that it is a general purpose computer equipped with a microprocessor and designed to run especially commercial software (as a word processor or Internet browser) for an individual user. Oxford Dictionary is, in this case, quite more laconic, just by saying that it is a computer designed for use by one person at a time.
For its part, much more precise is, once again, the Network Dictionary, by Javvin Technologies (ISBN: 978-1-60267-000-6, 2007), when referring the Personal Computer (PC) as a term commonly used to describe an “IBM-compatible” personal computer in contrast to an Apple Macintosh computer. It adds, further on, that PCs all are based on the microprocessor technology that enable manufacturers to put and entire CPU on one chip, and adds that they are commonly used for word processing, accounting, desktop publishing, and for running spreadsheet and database management applications and play games.
A more sensitive fact is that one related with the form factor. To become a laptop computer it is not necessary, of course, to have a design based on a flip-form factor, although it has been an indelible feature in laptop computers from the very beginning.
By making use of all those definitions, a profile about what a “laptop personal computer” is, can be now more precisely drawn. So, to the evaluation of this milestone proposal, a “laptop personal computer” will be considered as a computer that matches next five requirements:
- Portable: It can be used both directly plugged to the electric supply or by means of an in-built rechargeable battery.
- Lightweight: It is small enough to be seated on a person’s lap and suitable for use while travelling.
- All-in-One: It integrates all components required to be fully operative as a computer: display, keyboard, storage drives, data ports, etc.
- Clam-Shell: It comes in a flip-form factor.
- IBM-PC Compatible: It runs an operative system fully compatible with IBM-PC computers and is able to execute some office tools such as: word processor, spreadsheet application, drawing package, etc.
According to data provided in the Toshiba T-1100 computer brochure, this model is a very compact, clam-shell, very light (9 pounds) IBM-PC compatible computer, with high-resolution bit-mapped graphics on a 25-line LCD, internal 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 83-character keyboard, and up 8 hours’ running under rechargeable battery power.
As can be seen, this description perfectly matches the aforesaid requirements in order for the Toshiba T-1100 to be considered as a “laptop personal computer”, so the sensitive question now is whether this computer was, in fact, the first of its class.
By reading the information included with the nomination, it is missed a more detailed discussion about the state of the art of portable computers at the time the Toshiba T-1100 was released, and a more profound comparison of this computer with previously launched ones, in order to demonstrate that Toshiba T-1100 really was the very first laptop personal computer in the history of computing.
So, my recommendation as and advocate for this milestone would be to set forth the scope of nomination beyond the information presently included, and carry out an investigation about the issues previously referred.