Elegant" is the word computer insiders use to describe a particularly fine example of computer architecture or design. It has never been applied to the Osborne 1, whose less-than-sleek looks are frequently compared with the instrument panel of a DC-3. The introduction of Acam Osborne's brainchild in July 1981, however, touched off the hottest trend in business machines since the microcomputer traveled from the hobbyist's workroom to the businessperson's desk. The Osborne, its ads announced, was a "fully functional computer system in a portable package," allowing users to "go to work at the office, at home, or in the field."

In its first year, the company racked up $10 million in sales; its 1982 revenues were estimated at nearly $100 million. Although most analysts agree that the machine's low price ($1,795 including software), more than its portability, accounts for its success, peripatetic computing power is clearly an idea whose time has come.

In 1982, the industry shipped more than 115,000 units of "full-function" portables, like the Osborne, for revenues of about $285 million, according to Egil Juliussen, chairman of Future Computing, a Richardson, Tex., market research firm. Juliussen predicts that by 1987 shipments will total 1.4 million units, valued at $3.5 billion. While these machines today account for barely 5% of the entire desktop-computer market, he expects that share to jump to 20% by 1987.

At least 25 machines are currently on the market, with a new one, it seems, appearing weekly. They cost as little as $1,795 or as much as $9,000 and weigh from less than 9 pounds to as much as 36 pounds (see chart, page 50). Unlike hand-held computers, these portable machines do all that a desktop microcomputer can do, yet they pack up easily and can be carried from one location to another.

Portables, essentially desktops in a portable package, can be used for budgeting, forecasting, writing reports, creating graphs -- any task a stand-alone system can handle. But to be useful for broad business applications, most analysts agree, a unit should include a standard-size, conventional keyboard; an adequate display; a reasonable amount of internal memory and data storage; the ability to communcate over phone lines and to hook up with such peripherals as a printer; and, most important, the capacity to run good applications software.

"Portability, per se, is not enough," says Richard Dalton in Open Systems, a newsletter he edits on office technology. "There has to be enough utility to make the unit worth porting. But, you might ask, why would anyone want to cart around a computer? Some people don't. They see the portables, though, as a good way to lay their hands on a comparable machine for much less money than they would pay for a desktop. "For 1,800 bucks, you can get an awful lot of computer," says Richard Matlack, president of InfoCorp, a Cupertino, Calif., market research firm. Another lure, he adds, is that many people buying now are those "who want the latest and hottest-looking thing. There's a certain amount of status associated with it."

But once entrepreneurs get involved with using computers, says Isaacson of Future Computing, they want to take that power with them. Just doing a spreadsheet application for budgeting, she says, would justify the cost of a micro. "And half that planning is done at home. An awful lot of computers do go back and forth."

Seaforth Lyle, president of Computer Devices Inc., the Burlington, Mass., manufacturer of the DOT portable computer, predicts that businesspeople will increasingly buy portables as an inexpensive way to spread the computer wealth within an office. "The image is of people running through airports," he says. "The reality is people sharing units." He also predicts that, more and more, salespeople, accountants, insurance and real estate brokers -- anyone who wants to prepare proposals in clients' homes -- will carry computers.

Some people take the machines with them now, squeezing them, as advertised, under their airplane seats. Husband-and-wife team Juliussen and Isaacson hauled their 28-pound Compaq from their Richardson office to their room in the La Costa Hotel in San Diego. "We can run the whole business from here," says Juliussen. But, adds Isaacson, "I will tell you it is not very portable. We broke the handle, and you have to cry to get it on the airline."

It is true that, with few exceptions, the full-function portables are heavy and clumsy. "It's not like carrying your briefcase to work," says David Wilson, a staff scientist at SRI International who is preparing a buyer's guide to portable computers. "After a while I'd be afraid that one arm would get longer than the other."

And there is another problem. All but two of the current full-function portables must be near an electrical outlet. "The most romantic use of this kind of thing is on an airplane going to New York, where you can VisiCalc for five hours, or in the backseat of a car from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan, where you can rattle off a few memos to the home office," says editor Dalton, who is also president of Keep/Track Corp., a Corte Madera, Calif., consulting firm, "but that requires lots of battery power, and that's not there yet."

In short, there are trade-offs. Truly easy-to-carry units aren't likely to be that useful. And most of the machines that are full-function, says Richard Mandel, products manager for Hayward, Calif.-based Computerland Corp., "are only portable for a football player."

Another class of portables, the handhelds, weigh less than a pound and are battery-powered. But unless you are willing to learn how to program and have very specialized needs, there isn't much you can do with one right now. "Basically, what it looks like is an overgrown handheld calculator, and that's really what it is," says InfoCorp's Matlack. Even if comprehensive business software existed for the units, typing in data on a keyboard the size of a playing card with buttonlike keys is neither efficient nor convenient -- even if the user has very tiny fingers. Nor is it easy to do projections or word processing, with a one-line display. "If you're doing VisiCalc kinds of calculations, one line is a real pain in the neck," says Matlack.

Hewlett-Packard Co. recently introduced the compact, 26-ounce HP-75C for $995; it is far more powerful than the handhelds and can be linked to a miniature printer, graphics plotter, or cassette recorder for storing files. But, like other similar handheld products it still has buttonlike keys. "I certainly don't envision anyone is going to write a novel on it," says SRI's Wilson. And right now there is only the promise of applications software.

Three slip-in-a-briefcase, book-size machines with full-size keyboards were introduced by the end of 1982, although one, the Epson HX-20, cannot yet be considered full-function, since it lacks a full range of software. The GRiD Compass, lightweight, and with a full electroluminescent flat-screen display, is also expensive -- $9,210 with software. "It's marketed to the executive-washroom crowd," says Steve Schneiderman, editor of Portable Computer, a new magazine. And it draws too much power to run on a battery The battery-operated, eight-pound, 13-ounce Teleram 3000 is truly portable, but it has only a four-line display (as does the battery-powered Athena I, which was introduced early this year). Clearly, the perfect portable, the constant companion that can go along to any remote mountaintop hideaway, has yet to be perfected.

Most analysts, however, advise people not to wait for the dream machine. Says Wilson: "Every month someone is going to have something nicer than what was out there the last month. So if you wait for it to settle down, you never get one at all."

How do you hack your way through the hardware underbrush if you decide a full-function portable might be useful? "It always comes back to the same question," says Dalton. "What do you need it for? You have to decide which of the factors are most important to you." Adds Richard Matlack: "You're really looking at price/performance. By and large, it's just the features versus how much you want to pay."

Features on a portable, however, can vary even more widely than they do on desktops. As manufacturers try to cram all the essential elements into a more compact package, they necessarily make design compromises that can affect a machine's appeal or usefulness. Here are some factors to consider when shopping:

Weight ahd size. If you travel frequently and want to take a computer with you, these considerations loom larger than they would if you planned only to tote the machine home on weekends. And, if you intend to bring the computer on an airplane, make sure -- despite the manufacturer's claims -- that it actually will fit under an airline seat. (On any jet airplane, an underthe-seat item can measure no more than 9" X 13" X 23", according to an American Airlines spokesperson.)

Power supply. A self-contained power-supply is important if you intend to work out of doors or in any location without electricity. And power, says Matlack, is the chief challenge for portables. In the next couple of years, he predicts, low-powered chips will be increasingly available, as will potent, small batteries. Meanwhile, there are the usual trade-offs. In order to reduce the power drain, the Teleram 3000 and the Athena I, which are currently the only full-function portables that run on batteries, use a less-than-adequate, four-line liquid crystal display (LCD). Some manufacturers do offer battery packs, but, like the seven-pound, five-ounce Osborne add-on, these boost the weight substantially. You should also consider a battery's staying power. "If you're going to take five-hour, cross-country plane trips and your battery only lasts two hours, it's not going to do you much good," says Matlack.

Screen and display. Screen size and even shape differ, as manufacturers try to shrink overall dimensions. Except for the GRiD, which uses the expensive, electro-luminescent flat screen; the Teleram; and the Athena I; all the full-function portables rely on the heavy, bulky cathode ray tube (CRT). Probably the screen most conducive to eye strain is the five-inch Osborne's, clearly created for munchkins. An inadequate display can be corrected by plugging in a special monitor, which costs from $150 to $300. A so-called RF modulator -- built-in on some machines or available for about $70 in computer stores -- lets you use your television as a monitor. The TV screen, though, cannot display a full 80-character line. And either of these solutions limits portability.

Since you are going to be spending much of your time staring at the screen, you should like what you see -- which means the characters should be easy to read. Most displays feature green characters on a darker ground, but a few -- Hyperion and GRiD, for instance -- have other combinations. Some of the machines offer "bit-mapped" graphics, which produce sharper images for charts or drawings.

Keyboard. Placement of the keys is often quirky, so make sure you will be comfortable with the arrangement. Some keyboards offer "sculptured" keys like those on a typewriter; some don't. Many machines provide a number of programmable keys, allowing you to perform repetitive functions faster.

Software. "A computer is nothing more than a paperweight unless you have programs for it to run, " says Portable Computer's Schneiderman. As with desktop models, software availability is the most crucial factor to consider when buying a portable.

How much software exists for a machine depends, in part, on the operating system, which controls the running of the applications programs. A program written for one operating system won't run under another, unless the software is modified.

If a manufacturer doesn't use one of the operating systems that are becoming industry standards -- CP/M-80, CP/M-86, MS-DOS, UNIX, for instance -- it must create, or have created for it, its own software. You are then tied to that software. That is one reason, says Isaacson, that "proprietary operating systems should be dead." In the long run, she explains, software developers are going to produce more and better programs for operating systems that are used in a wide variety of machines. By far, the greatest number of off-the-shelf programs currently exist for CP/M-80, which is why most 8-bit portables use it.

8 bits or 16 bits? The portable computers' microprocessors are built around either 8-bit or 16-bit chips. So-called second-generation machines, such as the IBM Personal Computer, use the 16-bit chip, giving them more internal memory and greater speed. With more memory, they can run new integrated software programs, such as 1-2-3 (see Using Technology, page 124), which combine text, graphics, and spreadsheet in one package. The 16-bit computers also allow programmers to create "friendlier" software.

Says Rod Canion, president of Compaq Computer Corp., which makes an IBM PC look-alike: "Eight-bit computers are now obsolete for business and professional use." Many less-biased observers, however, disagree.

"There's so much capacity in a typical 8-bit computer that a small business can't utilize that I just giggle when I hear how everyone needs a 16-bit computer now," adds Dalton. "It will make VisiCalc run 40% faster. That means your global update takes 12 seconds instead of 15. Most of us aren't that pressed for time." Besides, he points out, "8-bit computers are becoming a commodity item. You can get one fully equipped for less than $2,000."

If, however, you are buying a portable as a long-term investment or are convinced you need greater computing power, you should look at the 16-bit machines. There is another reason for considering 16-bit portables: IBM PC compatibility.

Compatibility. If the portable is your second machine, says Isaacson, it is a good idea to buy one -- whether it is 8-bit or 16-bit -- that will be compatible with the one you already own. But compatibility "means many things on many levels," she says. Generally speaking, an 8-bit portable with a CP/M operating system will be able to use software that runs on CP/M. If, however, you want to swap files from your 8-bit CP/M portable to your CP/M desktop, you can't simply take a disk out of one machine and insert it into the other. Because there is no floppy disk standard for these machines, you must transfer files by plugging the two computers together through their RS-232C communication ports, which come with most micros.

If your desktop is an Apple II, still the most popular 8-bit machine, you will have difficulty finding a portable that allows you to use your Apple software or to swap files. Manufacturers aren't rushing to make Apple-compatible portables, says Isaacson, chiefly because Apple uses its own microprocessor and operating system, so you are "guaranteed to be in court with Apple" if you try to reproduce it.

Instead, many manufacturers are building machines they claim are compatible with the IBM PC, currently moving at a 20,000-a-month clip. The IBM PC, these manufacturers argue, is the desktop of the future. And because the PC does have a standard 5 1/4" disk, you can, with many of the compatible portables, exchange files directly with an IBM desktop you might already own. Besides, say the clone makers, our portables also make available to you the large and growing pool of hardware and software developed for the IBM. That software, they add, is the most sophisticated available.

These claims aren't too far off the mark although, says Dalton, "there isn't anything screamingly important that has come out for the IBM PC, with the possible exception of the integrated packages." But that situation will turn around in about 4 to 10 months, he predicts.

And there isn't any question that software developers are now writing their new programs for the IBM PC. Buying one of the IBM PC compatibles, says Isaacson, gives people a "security blanket, because they know the software support they need is either there or rapidly coming." Even if you don't own an IBM PC, you might want to buy a look-alike anyway: It can give you the same capacity as the original for a lot less money.

Isaacson warns, however, that manufacturers "can't be totally compatible, unless they violate IBM's copyright." What most companies try to do is ensure that their portable will run the most popular software for IBM right out of the box. If it does that, she says, "as far as I'm concerned it's compatible."

You should also check carefully how a company defines IBM PC "compatibility." Some that include the phrase in their advertising use the same operating system as the PC but have differences in design that require modified software.

To make sure a machine will run the software its manufacturer claims it does, try it out. "Don't buy it unless you have the software operating and demonstrated in front of you," warns author Wilson. And, if you plan to transfer files, advises Isaacson, "describe in detail what you want to do, and ask."

If you want to make compatibility certain, you can think about turning your desktop into a portable. For $899, Palo Alto, Calif. -- based Colby Computer will sell you a system that converts the IBM PC into a 26-pound portable. And, in May, Percom Data Co., in Dallas, expects to ship a $495 unit that does the same thing for the Apple II.

Memorry. The computer's internal random access memory (RAM) is used for running programs. The more RAM you have, the more complicated programs you can run, and the more working space you will have before needing to store data on a disk. All the full-function machines have at least 32K bytes RAM. Some are expandable up to 704K bytes, with the addition of another circuit board.

"You want as much memory as you can get your hands on," says InfoCorp's Matlack. "Once you get into the computer and start using it, the first thing you discover is you're running out of memory. If everything else were equal, I'd always lean toward the machine that had more main memory expandability and certainly more disk or floppy expandability. You never program smaller applications, you always program bigger and bigger applications."

Storage. Most portables come with one or two disk drives. The type of disk for which the drive is designed -- for example single-sided, single-density versus double-sided, double-density -- determines how much you can store on the floppy. A few other portables offer hard disks, which have much more capacity than the floppies. Some observers question, however, how much knocking around the fragile hard disks can absorb.

The GRiD and Teleram machines both use "bubble" memory for storage, eliminating the need for disks and disk drives. Bubble memory, like RAM, is located inside the machine. However, unlike RAM, it is nonvolatile -- that is, the data that is stored in it doesn't disappear when the power is turned off. There are disadvantages to bubble memory, though. Programs need to be loaded into the machine from an outside source. And, because the number of characters the memory can accommodate is limited, information must eventually be dumped into some form of outside storage. Practically, this means you can do only so much work before needing to link up with some other device.

Ports. The machine should have at least two I/O (input/output) ports -- one for a printer and one for a modem. Even with the right connection, though, plugging in a printer can be tricky. Says Wilson: "If you're going to use it with a printer, you ought to see it work with that printer. Don't take anything for granted."

Other factors to consider are documentation (if you can't understand the manual, you should think twice about buying the machine), service, and price. Since Osborne introduced the concept, many companies have "bundled" software with their machine. The freebie can save a bundle -- more than $1,000 in some cases.

"In the next five years or so, there will be a raft of things that will be truly portable, not just a personal desktop unit in a case," says Dalton. But even now, he argues, a portable machine is a good bet. Since a computer of any kind is a major investment to small businesspeople, he says, "they should definitely throw portability into their considerations. If they can find a system that offers everything a comparable desktop would, and can find even a meager initial justification for portability, they will find as they use it that they're much better off with the portable."

Note: This table may be divided, and additional information on a particular entry may appear on more than one screen.


Manufacturer/location Micro- Oper.

Model processor n2 syst.(s) n3

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA 2 NSC 800 na CP/M-2.2

Athena I (8-bit)

Compaq Houston 8088 (16-bit) Compaq-DOS

Compaq Portable Computer (same as MS-DOS)

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 8088 (16-bit) MS-DOS


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 8088 (16-bit) MS-DOS

PC/8088 CP/M-86 (opt.)

Computershop Cambridge, MA Z80A (8-bit) CP/M-2.2


Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 8088 (16-bit) MS-DOS

Corona Portable PC CP/M-86 (opt.)

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA Z80A (8-bit) CP/M-2.2

DMS-3/F Fox

DMS-15 same same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 8088 (16bit) MS-DOS


Hyperion Plus same same

Epson America Torrance, CA Dual 6301 (8 Built-in Microsoft

Epson HX-20 bit) (proprietary) Basic

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA 8086 (16-bit) CCOS (proprietary)

Compass 8087 (80-bit) nf

Jonos Anaheim, CA Z80A (8bit) CP/M-2.2

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 Z80B (8-bit) CP/M3.0

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH Z80A (8-bit) CP/M-2.2


Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA Z80 (8-bit) CP/M-2.2

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 Z80A (8-bit) same

Osborne Hayward, CA Z80A (8bit) CP/M-80

Osborne 1

Otrona Boulder, CO Z80A (8-bit) CP/M2.2.3


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ Z80A (8-bit) CP/M80


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 8088 (16-bit) MSDOS

Chameleon CP/M-86 (opt.)

SORD Computer Tokyo Z80A (8-bit) CP/M3.0

Socius M23P

STM Electron. Menlo Park, CA Z80A (8-bit) CP/M2.2

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL Z80A (8-bit) CP/M2.2


Nomis same same

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY Z80 L (8-bit) CP/M-80

Teleram 3000

RAM n4


Model Stand. Max.

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA 64K 64K

Athena I

Compaq Houston 128K 512K

Compaq Portable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 32K 704K


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 64K 512K


Computershop Cambridge, MA 64K 1 MB


Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 128K 512K

Corona Portable PC

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 64K 64K

DMS-3/F Fox

DMS15 same same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 256K 256K


Hyperion Plus same same

Epson America Torrance, CA 16K 32K

Epson HX-20

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA 256K 256K


Jonos Anaheim, CA 64K 128K

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 128K same

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 64K 512K


Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 64K 64K

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 same same

Osborne Hayward, CA 64K 64K

Osborne 1

Otrona Boulder, CO 64K 64K


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 64K 156K


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 128K 700K


SORD Computer Tokyo 128K 128K

Socius M23P

STM Electron. Menlo Park, CA 64K 128K

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 64K 64K


Nomis same same

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY 64K 64K

Teleram 3000

Manufacturer/location DISPLAYS

Model Storage type/capac. n5

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA Internal solid-state drive/

Athena I 512K, expandable to 1 MB

Compaq Houston (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/320K

Compaq Portable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA (1) 3 1/2" disk drive/287K


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/360K


Computershop Cambridge, MA (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/183K ea.


Corona Data Westlake Village, CA (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/320K

Corona Portable PC

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/

DMS-3/F Fox 614.4K ea.

DMS-15 (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/614.4K

(1) hard-disk drive/15 MB

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/320K


Hyperion Plus (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/320K ea.

Epson America Torrance, CA Microcassettes, 35K/side

Epson HX-20

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA Nonvolatile bubble/384K


Jonos Anaheim, CA (2) 3 1/2" disk drives/322K ea.

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 (2) 3 9/10" removable hard

cartridge disk drives/5 MB ea.

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/376K ea.


Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/195K ea.

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/191K

(1) hard disk/10 MB

Osborne Hayward, CA (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/92K ea.

Osborne 1

Otrona Boulder, CO (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/360K ea.


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ (2) 3 1/2" disk drives/437.5K

Eagle ea. (unformatted)

Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/160K ea.


SORD Computer Tokyo (2) 3 1/2" disk drives/280K ea.

Socius M23P

STM Electron. Menlo Park, CA (1) 5 1/4" disk drive/800K

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/388K ea.


Nomis (2) 5 1/4" disk drives/786K ea.

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY nonvolatile bubble/256K

Teleram 3000


Manufacturer/location Lines/

Model Screen Graphics Char. n6

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA 4-line no 4x80

Athena I LCD

Compaq Houston 9" yes nc 25x80

Compaq Portable Computer CRT

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 5"x9" yes nc 16 or 25x40,

DOT CRT 80, or 132 ne

Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 7" yes nc 25x80

PC/8088 CRT

Computershop Cambridge, MA 9" yes 24x80


Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 9" yes nc 25x80

Corona Portable PC CRT

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 9" no 25x80


DMS15 same same same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 7" yes nc 25x80

Hyperion CRT

Hyperion Plus same same same

Epson America Torrance, CA 4-line yes nc 4x20

Epson HX-20 LCD

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA 5 3/4" yes nc 24x53

Compass electro


Jonos Anaheim, CA 9" no 25x80

Escort C2100 CRT

Escort C2500 same same same

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 9" no 24x80

M6000P-Voyager CRT

Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 9" no 24x80

Kaypro II CRT

Kaypro 10 same yes same

Osborne Hayward, CA 5" no 24x52

Osborne 1 CRT

Otrona Boulder, CO 5 1/2" yes nc 24x80

Attache CRT

Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 7" yes 24x80

Eagle CRT

Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 9" yes nc 25x80

Chameleon CRT

SORD Computer Tokyo 12" yes 25x80

Socius M23P CRT

STM Electron. Menlo Park, CA none yes NA

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 7" yes 25x80

Zorba CRT

Nomis 9" same same


Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY 4-line yes 4x80

Teleram 3000 LCD


Manufacturer/location Total Progr. Num. Input/

Model keys keys keypad Output ports n7

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA 60 60 no 2 RS-232C

Athena I 1 printer

Compaq Houston 83 10 yes 1 RS-232C

Compaq Portable Computer 1 parallel

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 90 10 yes 2 RS232C


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 83 10 yes 1 RS232C


Computershop Cambridge, MA 95 26 yes 1 RS-232C

STARLite 1 parallel

Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 83 10 yes 1 RS232C

Corona Portable PC 1 parallel

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 32 32 yes 4 RS-232C

DMS-3/F Fox 1 parallel

DMS15 same same same same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 84 10 yes 1 RS-232C

Hyperion 1 RS-4324

1 parallel

Hyperion Plus same same same same

Epson America Torrance, CA 68 10 yes 2 RS232C

Epson HX-20

GRID Systems Mountain View, CA 57 20 yes 1 RS232C

Compass 1 parallel

1 IEEE 488

Jonos Anaheim, CA 92 10 yes 2 RS-232C

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 same same same 2 RS-232C

1 parallel

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 83 8 yes 2 RS232C


Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 72 20 yes 1 RS232C

Kaypro II 1 parallel

Kaypro 10 same same same same

Osborne Hayward, CA 56 10 yes 1 RS-232C

Osborne 1 1 IEEE 488

Otrona Boulder, CO 62 none yes 1 RS-232C

Attache 1 RS-422

1 RS423

Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 85 10 yes 2 RS-232C

Eagle 1 parallel

Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 83 10 yes 1 RS232C

Chameleon 1 parallel

SORD Computer Tokyo 92 14 yes 2 RS232C

Socius M23P 1 parallel

STM Electron, Menio Park, CA 61 34 opt. 1 RS-232C

Piep Piper I 1 parallel

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 95 19 yes 1 RS-232C

Zorba 1 parallel

Nomis same same same same

Telegram Comm. White Plains, NY 83 51 yes 1 RS-232C

Telegram 3000


Model Power supply

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA AC or DC recharge

Athena I internal 6 hr 6V batt.

Compaq Houston 120V AC

Compaq Portable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 110 or 220V AC

DOT opt. batt. pack

Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 115 or 230V AC

PC/8088 plugs into 12DC batt.

Computershop Cambridge, MA 110V AC plugs

STAR-Lite into batt.

Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 110 or 120V AC

Corona Portable PC

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 110 or 220V AC

DMS-3/F Fox

DMS-15 same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 120 or 240V AC


Hyperion Plus same

Epson America Torrance, CA 115V AC adaptor

Epson HX-20 4 built-in batts.

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA 110 or 220V AC


Jonos Anaheim, CA 110 or 220V AC

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 same

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 120/220V AC, opt

M600P-Voyager batt back-up w/

120V AC & carbatt.


Non-linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 110 or 220V AC

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 same

Osborne Hayward, CA 120V AC, opt. 7 lb.

Osborne 1 5 oz batt. pack

Otrona Boulder, CO 95/135V AC or

Attache 190/270V Ac, opt

batt. pack

Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 110/220V AC opt.

Eagle 18 lb batt. pack

Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 110/220V AC, 5 hr.

Chameleon batt pack

SORD Computer Tokyo 110/230V AC, opt.

Socius M23P 2 lb, 3 oz batt pack

STM Electron Menlo Park, CA 115/230V AC

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 115/220V re

Zorba chargeable 8 lb. batt


Nomis same

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY Built-in rechargeable

Teleram 3000 12V batt. (3-10 hrs.)


Model Software incl. n8 Weight

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA JRT Pascal, Vedit, 15 lbs.

Athena I Profitplan

Compaq Houston Basic (adv.) 28 lbs.

Compaq Protable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA none 27 lbs


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI Basic 25 lbs


Computershop Cambridge, MA PerfectWriter, 30 lbs.

STARLite PerfectCalc

Corona Data Westlake Village, CA GSX graphics 30 lbs

Corona Portable PC MultiPlan

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA none 30 lbs

DMs-3/F Fox

DMS-15 same 36 lbs

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario Basic (adv.) 18 lbs


Hyperion Plus Basic (adv.) Multi 21 lbs.

Plan In:scribe,


Epson America Torrance, CA none 3 lbbs.

Epson HX-20 13 oz

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA GRiD-PLAN 10 lbs



Jonos Anaheim, CA Basic-80, Multi 25 lbs.

Escort C2100 Plan, Spellbinder,


Escort C2500 same same

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH Basic Z, WordStar, 32 lbs

M6000P-Voyager CalcStar, Mail-

Merge, SpellStar,

Superfile, Archivist

Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA SBasic, Profitplan, 26 lbs.

Kaypro II Perfect-Writer

Speller, Calc


Kaypro 10 same 27 lbs.

Osborne Hayward, CA CBasic MBasic, 23 lbs.

Osborne WordStar, Mail- 8 oz

Merge, SuperCalc

Otrona Boulder, CO Basic-80, Word- 18 lbs

Attache Star Plus, Charton

Valet ng

Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ spreadsheet, 18 lbs

Eagle speller wordpro-

cessor, inventory


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD MBasic, Perfect 28 lbs.

Chameleon Writer-Calc

SORD Computer Tokyo SORD Basic, 16 lbs.

Socius M23P PIPS 8 oz

STM Electron, Menlo Park, CA Perfect-Writer 11 lbs

Pied Piper I Speller-Calc


Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL CBasic, WordStar, 22 lbs,

Zorba CalcStar, Mail


Nomis same 23 lbs.

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY TeleTalk 8 lbs,

Teleram 3000 13 oz

Manufacturer/location WxDxH Sales

Model (in inches) channels Service

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA 11 7/8 x retail dealer

Athena I 14 1/2 x 3 3/8 direct

Compaq Houston 20 x 16 x 18 1/2 retail dealer

Compaq Portable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 18 x 15 x 8 1/2 direct 800 #

DOT retail

Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 19 x 16 x 7 1/2 direct direct

PC/8088 retail

Computershop Cambridge, MA 16 x 16 1/4 x 7 direct dealer

STAR-Lite retail

Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 20 x 20 x 8 retail dealer

Corona Portable PC

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 17 1/2 x 14 7/10 x retail direct

DMS3/F Fox 7 6/10 3rd p'ty

DMS-15 same same same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 18 3/10 x 11 3/10 x retail dealer

Hyperion 8 8/104L Hyperion same same



Epson America Torrance, CA 11 3/10 x 8 1/2 x 1 retail 800 #


Epson HX-20

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA 11 1/2 x 15 x 2 direct direct


Jonos Anaheim, CA 17 1/4 x 13 1/4 x 7 retail direct


Escort C2100 direct 3rd p'ty

Escort C2500 same same same

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 17 x 20 x 7 retail, direct,

M6000P-Voyager direct 3rd p'ty

Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 19 x 16 x 8 retail dealer

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 same same same

Osborne Hayward, CA 20 1/2 x 14 1/2 x 8 retail dealer


Osborne I

Otrona Boulder, CO 12 x 13 1/2 x 5 3/4 retail dealer


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 18 x 17 1/4 x 8 direct direct


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 18 x 15 1/2 x 8 retail dealer

Chameleon 800 #

SORD Computer Tokyo 17 1/4 x 15 7/16X distr. 3rd p'ty


Socius M23P 5 3/16

STM Electron, Menlo Park, CA 20 1/5 x 10 4/5 x 4 retail 3rd p'ty

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 17 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 9 retail dealer


Nomis same same same

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY 13 x 9 3/4 x 3 1/2 retail dealer

Teleram 3000


Model Comments

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA No moving parts, mass storage is 3 to

10x faster than

Athena I disk drive nb

Compaq Houston IBM PC compat nd Add-on communication

cards let it link

Compaq Portable Computer w/host computer


Computer Devices Burlington, MA IBM PC compat. (same oper. syst)

opt. built-in modem

DOT printer and 1 hr

week see service with CompuServe.

Computer Sytems St. Clair Shores, MI IBM PC compat. opt color CRT opt. hard

disk (avail.

PC/8088 March '83).

Computershop Cambridge, MA 4 expan, slots for peripherals. Plans to

offer own hard-disk

STAR-lite drive.

Corona Data Westlake Village, CA IBM PC compat. Compat, w/Corona

desktops 4 expan. slots

Corona Portable PC opt 10 MB hard-disk (avail April '83).

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA Can link w/HiNet local-area network

HiNet electronic mail.

DMS-3/F Fox

DMS-15 same

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario IBM PC compat. Can be upgraded to

Hyperion Plus level.


Hyperion Plus Same. Built-in modern w/automatic

telephone-ans. capability.

Epson America Torrance, CA Built-in 24 col dot-matrix printer

Business software

Epson HX-20 unavailable at press time.

GRiD Systems Mountain View, CA Built-in modern. Software update and

more file storage in

Compass GRiD Central

mainframe computer.

Jonos Anaheim, CA Opt. dot-matrix printer attaches to

back to computer. (avail.

Escort C2100 July '83.

Escort C2500 Video output, clock and 5-year calendar.

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 6 expan. slots. Can add 8086 chip for

IBM PC compat.

M6000P-Voyager Also can add 68000 chip.

Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 Light pen input/output (available

April '83).

Osborne Hayward, CA Opt. modern opt. double-density disk


Osborne 1

Otrona Boulder, CO Modular construction allows

1-hr repair.


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ Opt. built-in modern, opt. hard disk

(avail. March '83).


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD IBM PC compat Opt. bisynchronous

communication w/

Chameleon mainframe.

SORD Computer Tokyo Opt. port for bit-mapped graphics w/

color or monochrome

Socius M23P monitor

STM Electron. Menlo Park, CA Runs on any monitor, opt 2 x 80 LCD and

4 x 40 column

Pied Piper I printer, built-in modem.

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL Reads IBM, Xerox, Kaypro &

Osborne disks.


Nomis Built-in modem (available April

'83).Telegram Comm. White Plains, NY

Opt. portable disk drive can read

Apple, Osborne, IBM

Teleram 3000 formats. Opt. office stn. with CRT, dist

drive 8 ports.

Manufacturer/location Sugg.

Model list price

Athena Computer San Juan Capistrano, CA $3,950

Athena I

Compaq Houston 2,995

Compaq Portable Computer

Computer Devices Burlington, MA 2,995


Computer Systems St. Clair Shores, MI 3,388


Computershop Cambridge, MA 2,695


Corona Data Westlake Village, CA 2,395

Corona Protable PC

Digital Microsyst. Oakland, CA 3,995

DMS-3/F Fox

DMS-15 7,495

Dynalogic Info-Tech Ottawa, Ontario 3,395


Hyperion Plus 4,995

Epson America Torrance, CA 795

Epson HX-20

GRiD System Mountain View, CA 9,210


Jonos Anaheim, CA 3,995

Escort C2100

Escort C2500 5,995

Micro Source New Lebanon, OH 3,900


Non-Linear Syst. Solana Beach, CA 1,795

Kaypro II

Kaypro 10 2,795

Osborne Hayward, CA 1,795

Osborne 1

Otrona Boulder, CO 3,995


Peripheral Syst. Marlton, NJ 3,495


Seequa Computer Annapolis, MD 1,995


SORD Computer Tokyo 2,595

Socius M23P

STM Electron, Menlo Park, CA 1,299

Pied Piper I

Telcon Fort Lauderdale, FL 1,995


Nomis 2,395

Teleram Comm. White Plains, NY 2,995

Teleram 3000


n1 Unless otherwise noted, these machines have: standard-size, conventional keyboard; adequate display, internal memory, and data storage; ability to run good business software, communicate over phone lines, and link up with printers.

n2 The microprocessor or central processing unit (CPU) in these machines consists of an 8-or 16-bit chip. (Some have both.) Most use chips from either Zilog Inc. (Z80, Z80A, Z80B, Z80L) or Intel Corp. (8086, 8087, 8088).

n3 The operating system tells the computer how to manage the applications programs and takes care of the general operation of the machine. Digital Research makes CP/M-80 and CP/M-86. (CP/M-2.2, 2.2.3, and 3.0 are variations of CP/M-80.) Microsoft makes MS-DOS.

n4 Internal Random Access Memory runs programs and temporarily stores data.

n5 Unless otherwise noted, capacity refers to the amounts of usable (formatted) storage.

n6 The number of lines times the number of characters in each that the screen displays at one time.

n7 I/O ports are where peripherals, such as printers and modems, arr plugged in. An RS-232C is a standard serial port.

n8 The software listed is "bundled" or included in the suggested list price.

na National Semiconductor Corp. makes chip. Compatible with Z-80.

nb Comes with 5 1/4" disk drive to allow loading of programs into internal drive.

nc High resolution (bit-mapped) graphics.

nd Main story and Using Technology (page 124) discuss IBM PC compatibility. In most cases, compatibility means that the manufacturer claims its machine can use any software for the IBM PC as well as IBM PC hardware. With some units, users can also swap files from the portable to the PC.

ne Screen can be configured in any of these combinations, depending on character size desired.

nf High-speed co-processor that makes doing precise mathematics easier.

ng Valet lets you set an alarm that reminds you of appointsments while work is in progress or automatically activates such commands as transmitting data at a pre-specified time. Lets you change system parameters, such as screen brightness, and print out material on the screen without interrupting rest of work.

nh Distributed through Business Computing Int'l NYC.

All information was supplied by manufacturers.



In "Pint-size Computers" (March) Portia Isaacson should have been identified as the president of Future Computing.