[Worldkings] Top 100 pioneers in all fields (P. 75) Adam Osborne (UK): The inventor of the world's first portable computer


(Worldkings.org) Developed by Adam Osborne in April 1981, the Osborne I was the world's first truly portable computer.

Adam Osborne (March 6, 1939 – March 18, 2003) was a British American author, software publisher, and computer designer who founded several companies in the United States and elsewhere. He introduced the Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable computer.


In 1980 he hired Lee Felsenstein to design the machine and founded Osborne Computer Corporation. In 1981 Adam introduced the first portable computer, the Osborne 1. The computer weighed 23.5 pounds and cost $1,795, just over half the cost of a computer from other manufacturers with comparable features. The computer ran the popular CP/M operating system and featured a full keyboard and a tiny 5" built-in monochrome monitor.

The company shipped over 10,000 computers a month and was considered a huge success, earning $6 million in 1981 and by the next year into the $68 million range.

Although it had certain limitations, including a small five-inch screen, it including word processing and spreadsheet software that was sufficient for most business people's needs. Sales at first were strong, but when Osborne announced an upgraded version of his computer—the Executive—before it was ready for sale, customers stopped buying the Osborne-1 to wait for the new model. Unfortunately, this resulted in a huge inventory backlog that devastated the company, which went bankrupt in 1983.


According to encyclopedia.com & computinghistory.org.uk

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