The first mass market consumer laptop was released by Toshiba in 1985. The Toshiba T1100 model, however, was not the first ever laptop. That, according to industry sources, was the 22.2kg Xerox NoteTaker which was developed in 1976.
It had what was then considered to be advanced technology - a built-in monochrome display monitor and a floppy disk drive. The Xerox NoteTaker was emulated by other laptop models that followed soon after.
Although intended to enable people to work on the go, many of the early models were cumbersome. Bulky, heavy in weight and costly, these computers marketed as laptops or notebooks, were largely used by the business community. Chandra Devi Renganayar takes a look at how laptops have evolved in shape, size and functionality.
The 1976 Model
1976 - the Xerox NoteTaker weighing 22.2kg was developed. However, it did not enter production. Only 10 prototypes of the computer were built.
The 1985 Model
1985 - The Toshiba T1100 model weighing 4.1 kgs had 256KB of RAM. Supported by Intel Processor and a floppy drive, it became the first mass market consumer laptop. Two years later, the company introduced smaller and lighter models, the T1000 and T1200 which were easily carried in a backpack.
1986 - The IBM PC Division released its first commercial laptop computer, the PC Convertible. The model weighing about 5.5kg had a CGA-compatible LCD display and two floppy drives. The PC Convertible's clamshell design was followed by other portable computer manufacturers.
1988 - The Compaq SLT/286 was the first battery-powered laptop to have a built-in hard disk drive and a VGA compatible LCD screen. By the end of the 1980s, the laptop computers were popular among businessmen.
1989 - Apple Computer designed its first on the go model, the Macintosh Portable. The battery-powered model, however, was considered more of a "luggable" than a laptop. In 1991, the company released the Powerbook series which introduced features that became a norm on laptops. These included the palm rest and trackball.
1994 - IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad 775CD, the first notebook with an integrated CD-ROM.
1995 - With the introduction of Microsoft Windows 95, notebook computing become more advanced. During this period the usefulness and popularity of laptops also increased. Portable computers had built-in CD-ROMs and ran on Intel Pentium processors. One of the popular model was the Gateway Solo.
1997 - Laptops begin to show improved connectivity features with internal modems and standard serial, parallel and PS/2 ports, making it easier to work on the go. Later, laptops with network adapters, USB and Wi-Fi support came into the market. The HP Jornada 820 Palmtop PC introduced in 1998 was among those models that had advanced communication features such as the ability to send and receive fax, a voice-recorder feature and e-mail. It offered 10 hours of battery life, wide screen, touch-typeable keyboard, touch pad and graphical web browsing.
2002 - Laptops with Intel's Pentium 4 chip came into the market. The laptops supported more power, speed and memory. Big screens, stereo sound systems and DVD-RW drives were common. For security, notebooks with biometric capability were introduced. Beginning 2004, slimmer ultraportable laptops and more advanced multimedia notebooks emerged. These included the Dell Inspiron, Sony Vaio, HP Pavillion, Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad and Toshiba Qosmio range of laptops.
2007 - The netbook trend began with the introduction of Asus' Eee PC 701. Low cost, small sized, lightweight and versatile, the netbooks became a hit with consumers. Other brands such Acer, Dell, Sony and HP followed suit with netbooks built on the low-powered Intel Atom processor architecture.
2010 -In 2000, Microsoft introduced the term Microsoft Tablet PCs for tablet PCs built based on its specifications. However, the tablet PC did not take off as intended due to technical hiccups. Only in 2010 with Apple's iPad did the tablet PC segment become popular.
The 2011 Model
2011- Manufacturers are now pushing ultrabooks into the market. These are very thin, lightweight and ultraportable laptops defined by a specification from Intel. It has the new CULV Intel processors with integrated graphics and flash-based solid state disks. Among the ultrabooks available currently include Lenovo IdeaPad U300e and Asus ZenBook