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The Grid Compass 1100 (written GRiD by its manufacturer) was arguably the first laptop computer, introduced in April 1982.

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 320x200-pixel (CGA) electroluminescent display, 340-kilobyte magnetic bubble memory, and a 1200 bit/s modem. Devices like hard drives and floppy drives could be connected via the 488 I/O (also known as the GPIB or General Purpose Instrumentation Bus). This port made it possible to connect multiple devices in a daisy-chain. It weighed 5 kg (11 lb).

As a groundbreaking design, the Compass ran Grid-OS, its very own operating system. Its specialized software and high price (US$8-10,000) 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.

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GRiDLite branch
Preceded by
NoteTaker
GRiD Compass Followed by
GRiDCase
Compaq LTE branch
Influenced by
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GRiD Compass Influenced
Compaq LTE
ZP-150 branch
Influenced by
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GRiD Compass Influenced
ZP-150
Apple Newton branch
Influenced by
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GRiD Compass Influenced
Macintosh Portable
Tandy 1400 branch
Influenced by
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GRiD Compass Influenced
TRS-80 Model 200

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