CRN 30th Anniversary: 10 Computer Ads From The Early 1980s

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Going Mobile

In 1981 Osborne Computer Corp. released the first commercially available portable computer, dubbed the Osborne-1. And by 1982, the Osborne-1 had taken the world by storm with ads like this one, which compared developer and company founder Adam Osborne to automobile legend Henry Ford.

"Portable" is a relative term, of course. In the earlier 80s, a mobile computer like the Osborne-1 looked like an oversized suitcase that weighed over 20 pounds and had its own fold-out keyboard and 5-inch black-and-green screen. But the real hook for the Osborne-1 was its price: $1795, which included not just the computer and CP/M operating system but a bundle of business programs and office applications as well. Osborne Computer ran into financial issues a few years later and closed down in 1985, but the Osborne-1 started the trend of mobile computing 30 years ago.

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