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Friday, August 31, 2012

Grid Compass Computer - Pioneering the Laptop

1986-GRiD Gridcase 1520 laptop

Video Link...

Pioneering the Laptop - The GRiD Compass

Video Link (1hr 30min)...

Man, these are Cool!:) They were used on the Space Shuttle too... I want one now!


GRiD Compass 1101
Released: 1982
Price: US$8150
Weight: 10 lbs, 12 oz
CPU: Intel 8086 @ 8MHz (?)
Display: 6-inch electroluminescent

80 x 24 text

320 x 240 graphics
Ports: RS-232/422 serial

GPIB parallel port
Storage: internal 384K bubble RAM

external floppy drive(s)

GRiD onboard Space Shuttle "Discovery"
mission STS-51G - June 1985.

Designed to be the ultimate portable computer, the clamshell-style GRiD Compass 1101 is the grand-daddy of all present-day laptop computers.

The Compass is very high-tech, with its flat-black, die-cast magnesium-alloy case, and bright, sharp electroluminescent display (ELD). No other system packed so much speed and power in as small a case, and none had such a unique and large, easy-to-read screen, allowing full 80x24 text.

Of course, all of these great features raised the price significantly. At $8150, the GRiD Compass 1101 was the most expensive personal computer you could buy.

Originally developed for business executives, GRiDs were also used by the U.S. military 'in the field', and by NASA on the Space Shuttles during the 1980's and 90's. It's even been said that the US President's "nuclear football" at one time included a GRiD computer.

Few, if any, non-IBM computers in 1982 ran MS-DOS, and the GRiD is no exception. Although MS-DOS compatibility was eventually added, the original GRiD 1101 ran only the GRiD-OS operating system - its design started in 1979, before MS-DOS or the IBM PC existed.

But GRiD-OS is no slouch - the suite includes:
-GRiDManager  -communication and utility functions
-GRiDPrint -control format and appearance of text files
-GRiDWrite -full-screen text editor
-GRiDPlan -electronic worksheets
-GRiDFile -database facilities
-GRiDPlot -converts data to graphs
-GRiDBASIC -programming language

Controlled almost entirely my menus, GRiD-OS is a full-function, powerful operating system. It displays data by DEVICE, SUBJECT (folder), TITLE (file name), and KIND (file type). Files can be password protected if desired.


Grid Compass

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from GRiD Compass)
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Astronaut John Creighton posing with a Grid Compass aboard a Space Shuttle Discovery mission in 1985. It displays Mr. Spock of Star Trek
Developer Bill Moggridge[1]
Type Portable computer
Release date April 1982
Introductory price 8150 USD [1]
Operating system Grid-OS
CPU Intel 8086
Memory 340 KB magnetic bubble[2]
Display 320 x 240
Connectivity 19-pin "serial", Telephone Line+Audio 1,200 bit/s modem, GPIB[2]
Successor GridCase 1535EXP[2]
The Grid Compass (written GRiD by its manufacturer GRiD Systems Corporation) was one of the first laptop computers when the initial model was introduced in April 1982 (the model 1101[3]).
The computer was designed by British industrial designer Bill Moggridge in 1979, and first sold three years later. The design used a clamshell case (where the screen folds flat to the rest of the computer when closed), which was made from a magnesium alloy. The computer featured an Intel 8086 processor, a 320 × 240-pixel electroluminescent display, 340-kilobyte magnetic bubble memory, and a 1,200 bit/s modem. Devices such as hard drives and floppy drives could be connected via the IEEE-488 I/O (also known as the GPIB or General Purpose Instrumentation Bus). This port made it possible to connect multiple devices to the addressable device bus. It weighed 5 kg (11 lb). The power input is ~110/220 V AC, 47–66 Hz, 75 W.
The Compass ran its own operating system, GRiD-OS. Its specialized software and high price (8–10,000 USD) meant that it was limited to specialized applications. The main buyer was the U.S. government. NASA used it on the Space Shuttle during the early 1980s, as it was both powerful and lightweight. The military Special Forces also purchased the machine, as it could be used by paratroopers in combat.
Along with the Gavilan SC and Sharp PC-5000 released the following year, the GRiD Compass established much of the basic design of subsequent laptop computers, although the laptop concept itself owed much to the Dynabook project developed at Xerox PARC from the late 1960s. The Compass company subsequently earned significant returns on its patent rights as its innovations became commonplace.
The portable Osborne 1 computer sold at around the same time as the GRiD, was more affordable and more popular, and ran the popular CP/M operating system. But, unlike the Compass, the Osborne was not a laptop and lacked the Compass's refinement and small size.
The Compass's manufacturer, Grid Systems Corp., was acquired by Tandy Corporation (RadioShack) in 1988.


  1. ^ a b "World's first laptop. Osborne 1 GRiD Compass 1101.". 090519
  2. ^ a b c "Daves old computers - PC compatibles". 090519
  3. ^ The model 1100 did not exist, except in marketing materials, the released machine was the model 1101. Pioneering the Laptop - The GRiD Compass

External links

Go there...

Grid Compass Computer - Pioneering the Laptop
Grid Compass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grid Compass Computer - Google Search
Pioneering the Laptop - The GRiD Compass - YouTube
Grid Compass Computer - Google Search
Grid Compass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GRiD Compass 1101 computer
DigiBarn Systems: GRiD Compass II
Grid Compass Computer - Google Search
Uncle Roger's Computers -- GRiD Compass 1101
History of Computers and Computing, Birth of the modern computer, Personal computer, Grid Compass
Old Computers - rare, vintage, and obsolete computers
1986-GRiD Gridcase 1520 laptop - YouTube and Vitage Computer info
OLD-COMPUTERS.COM Museum ~ Tandy Radio Shack TRS 80 PC-2 software & screenshots
Space 1999: An isometric action adventure game for your Oric
The Official Blog of Benjamin J Heckendorn
Old computer ads
Old Computers - rare, vintage, and obsolete computers
Sharp PC-7000
Ohio Scientific Superboard II model 600 computer
IBM 5120 / IBM 5110 model 3 / IBM 5110-3 computer system
Processor Technology Sol-20 Terminal Computer
KIM-1 computer
MITS Altair 8800 computer
IMSAI 8080 computer
IBM 5100 computer
Apple 1 computer
Homebrew Computer Club - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pirates of Silicon Valley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apple II computer
Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 model I computer
Dinosaur Sightings: Computers from the 1970s | TechRepublic
Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 model III computer
TRS-80 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:TRS-80 Model I - Rechnermuseum Cropped.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tandy Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:GRiDCompassInSpace.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Osborne 1 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dynabook - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:Alan Kay and the prototype of Dynabook, pt. 5 (3010032738).jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
PARC (company) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gavilan SC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sharp PC-5000 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Altair 8800 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File:Altair 8800 Computer.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Internet in 1969 - YouTube
Old Laptop (1988) - YouTube
My Vintage Computer Collection - YouTube

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