10 HIGHLIGHTS IN THE EVOLUTION OF THE HOME COMPUTER

  1. 10. 1962 (Linc) Laboratory Instrument Computer
    The Laboratory Instrument Computer or “LINC” first started processing data in an MIT Lab in 1962. This “computer” was the world’s first minicomputer and was developed to process biomedical data by MIT University. It is generally considered to be the first major stepping stone to the PC as we know it today.
  2. 9. 1965 PDP-8
    roduced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) the PDP-8 was the first commercially successful minicomputer. It sold 50,000+ units of the PDP-8, more than any other computer unit at that time. The original PDP-8 was about the size of a refrigerator. A PDP-8 is displayed in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
  3. 8. 1969 Arpanet
    The US Department of Defense developed the first computer system known as Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency) in 1969, this would later be referred to as…the internet. Though “the internet” is light years different now, Arpanet is without a doubt the basic building block of today’s internet.
  4. 7. 1972 ATARI - Pong
    Pong was the first game released by Atari in 1972, it is generally considered the origin point for the video game industry. After its release, Atari developed and released a wildly successful home version. Forty years later, the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar sales industry, reporting approximately $12 billion in sales for 2012.
  5. 6. 1975 MITS Altair 8800
    January of ‘75 Popular Electronics had the Altair 8800 Kit on its cover. MITS assumed the “build it yourself” kits would get a few hundred orders but they received thousands of orders. The Altair is considered the spark that lead to the computer boom of the late 70’s. Altair’s programming language was developed by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
  6. 5. (3 way tie) 1977 Apple
    1976 Wozniak built the original Apple I, and it was Jobs that pushed selling them The originals are now a collector’s item, selling in the mid to upper 5 digit range, the original sold for $666.66. Unlike anything before it, the Apple I was a fully assembled circuit board. When compared with most computers before it, there was no comparison.
  7. 5. 1977 Commodore PET
    Released in 1977 the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was a hit in Canada and the U.S., particularly in the educational sector. Featuring a cassette deck, the Commodore’s memory capacity could go all the way up to 96 KB. When it premiered, the PET was the first all-in-one home computer, it had a screen, keyboard, and power source.
  8. 5. 1977 Tandy Radio Shack's TRS-80
    Sometimes “lovingly” referred to as the “trash-80”, Radio Shack’s attempt at the home computer was a smash hit for the company. Before releasing the TRS-80, at approximately 20% of their sales, CB radios dominated Radio Shack’s overall sales. The TRS-80 and the models that followed would eventually reach 35% of Radio Shack’s overall sales.
  9. Intermission:
    The Apple II, Commodore PET, and TRS-80 have been referred to as the “1977 trinity” in regards to home computers. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the PC had arrived and it was here to stay, it just hadn’t been named that yet…
  10. 4. 1981 IBM PC
    In direct response to other microcomputers, especially the Apple II, IBM released the IBM PC in August of ‘81. The IBM PC quickly became the industry standard for the personal computer. IBM called their home computers PCs and they took-off. Developed again by Gate’s team, the IBM came with MS-DOS and dominated the computer language market.
  11. 3. 1982 GRID Systems, Compass Laptop
    An amazing machine for 1982, Grid Systems, Compass, was a true laptop. Designed by Bill Moggridge in 1979, it wasn’t sold until April of 1982. It featured a whopping (for the time) 340 KB of memory, a clamshell case design, 320 X 240 pixel display, a 1,200 bit modem and external connectivity for additional hard drive and floppy drive access.
  12. 2. 1984 Apple Macintosh
    Apple debuted the Macintosh in January of 1984. The “Mac” was the first successful PC to feature a mouse and a user interface. In other words it was the first to use a screen with icons vs abstract textual commands, this opened up the computer world to everyone that didn’t want to learn computer language but just wanted to point, and click.
  13. 1. (Tie) The World Wide Web
    In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for an elaborate information management system, referencing a database and software project of his from 1980. Along with Robert Cailliau he wrote and published a formal proposal in 1990 to build what he called “WorldWideWeb” as a “web” of “hypertext” documents that could be viewed and read by “browsers”.
  14. 1. Windows 3.0
    Released in 1990, Windows 3.0 was the first version to compete with the Macintosh graphical interface. A number of applications were included, such as Notepad, word processor, Write, and a paint program, Paintbrush. It also had a calculator, and games, including of course, solitaire. Windows would eventually take 90% of the market share.