Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Osborne 1

Osborne 1

Speed4 MHz
Memory64 KB

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Release Date: 4/1/1981
Manufacturer: Osborne
Original Retail Price:
Adjusted Inflation Price:
$1,795.00
$4,715.14*
 
Donated By: Lou Anderson
 
The Osborne 1 was the first commercially available portable "all-in-one" microcomputer, released in April, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 23.5 pounds (12 kg) and ran the then-popular CP/M 2.2 operating system. Its principal deficiencies were a tiny 5 inch (13 cm) display screen and single sided, single density floppy disk drives whose disks could not contain sufficient data for practical business applications (although a double density drive was available as well). Its design owed much to that of the Xerox NoteTaker, a prototype developed at Xerox PARC in 1976. At the peak of popularity, Osborne was shipping over 10,000 units a month. Osborne Computer Corporation was a victim of its own success. They announced two new models that virtually halted the sales of the current unit, resulting in an inventory issue--helping spiral the company into bankruptcy. This has comes to be known as the 'Osborne Effect'.

A complete sales brochure is available (450K PDF).

Osborne 1 Sales Brochure

 

This computer is currently interactive in the Museum.
 

User Comments
John C on Friday, September 04, 2015
That is actually an Osborne 1A. It was the second release.
Blair M. Groves on Thursday, October 03, 2013
CP/M's BDOS required that the floppy be initialized before it could be accessed, which was apparently a nuisance when running with the diminutive capacity of the Osborne. I recall the same issue when I got my first computer, a TeleVideo TPC-I, which also ran CP/M 2.2, but had two DSDD 360K floppies and a 9" screen . The popular utility called "Uniform", written by MicroSolutions, allowed many CP/M machines to read other CP/M brand formats as well as the DSDD IBM PC format. There was a version of Uniform for the IBM PC, and MicroSolutions even sold 8 inch floppy drive interface cards that could go in an IBM PC expansion slot. I still have most of my TeleVideo (800, 800A, 801, 802(H), 803(H), 804, 806, 816, TPC-I, 1603 and 1605), Xerox 820-II, and Epson QX-10 equipment, user manuals, boot disks, service manuals, parts, parts, more parts, etc... if anyone is looking for something I'd be happy to help. blair@blairgroves.com
Blair M. Groves on Thursday, October 03, 2013
CP/M's BDOS required that the floppy be initialized before it could be accessed, which was apparently a nuisance when running with the diminutive capacity of the Osborne. I recall the same issue when I got my first computer, a TeleVideo TPC-I, which also ran CP/M 2.2, but had two DSDD 360K floppies and a 9" screen . The popular utility called "Uniform", written by MicroSolutions, allowed many CP/M machines to read other CP/M brand formats as well as the DSDD IBM PC format. There was a version of Uniform for the IBM PC, and MicroSolutions even sold 8 inch floppy drive interface cards that could go in an IBM PC expansion slot. I still have most of my TeleVideo (800, 800A, 801, 802(H), 803(H), 804, 806, 816, TPC-I, 1603 and 1605), Xerox 820-II, and Epson QX-10 equipment, user manuals, boot disks, service manuals, parts, parts, more parts, etc... if anyone is looking for something I'd be happy to help.
Ivan Shepperd on Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Xoobee asked about an Osborne in a blue case. You may be thinking of the Kaypro which looks similar to and came out about the same time as an Osborne. It came in a blue case.
ernie Roberts on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
A friend of mine gave me a Osbourne computer, complete with 420 extra floppy disc and all the manuals & cassete tapes that come with the manual. It still works. Maybe I will hang on to it , just because it was the first portable computer that was made.
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* Inflation data courtesy of www.inflationdata.com. Values are approximate using our own calculations.