|Operating system||CP/M, CPM +|
|CPU||Zilog Z80 @ 4.0MHZ|
The Osborne Vixen was a "luggable" portable computer announced by the Osborne Computer Corporation in November 1984, as a follow up to their Osborne 1 and Osborne Executive system.
A portable computer was a computer designed to be easily moved from one place to another and included a display and keyboard. The first commercially sold portable was the 50 pound IBM 5100, introduced 1975. The next major portables were Osborne's 24 pound CP/M-based Osborne 1 (1981) and Compaq's 28 pound 100% IBM PC compatible Compaq Portable (1983). These "luggable" computers lacked the next technological development, not requiring an external power source; that feature was introduced by the laptop. Laptops were followed by lighter models, so that in the 2000s mobile devices and by 2007 smartphones made the term almost meaningless. The 2010s introduced wearable computers such as smartwatches.
The Osborne Computer Corporation (OCC) was a pioneering maker of portable computers. It was located in the Silicon Valley of the southern San Francisco Bay Area in California.
The Osborne 1 is the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on April 3, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighs 10.7 kg (24.5 lb), cost US$1,795, and runs the CP/M 2.2 operating system. It is powered from a wall socket, as it has no on-board battery, but it is still classed as a portable device since it can be hand-carried when packed.
The Vixen had a 4 MHz Zilog Z80 microprocessor, with 64 KB dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). It had a 7-inch diagonal amber display that could show 24 lines by 80 columns of memory mapped video. It used two 400 KB disk drives, utilizing double-density double-sided 5.25" diskettes. As a luggable, it weighed about 18 pounds. Contemporary advertising pointed out that it could fit under the seat in an airplane, with dimensions of 125⁄8 by 161⁄4 by 61⁄4 inches (321 by 413 by 159 mm).
The Z80 CPU is an 8-bit based microprocessor. It was introduced by Zilog in 1976 as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his then-11 employees at Zilog from early 1975 until March 1976, when the first fully working samples were delivered. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years.
Dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access semiconductor memory that stores each bit of data in a separate tiny capacitor within an integrated circuit. The capacitor can either be charged or discharged; these two states are taken to represent the two values of a bit, conventionally called 0 and 1. The electric charge on the capacitors slowly leaks off, so without intervention the data on the chip would soon be lost. To prevent this, DRAM requires an external memory refresh circuit which periodically rewrites the data in the capacitors, restoring them to their original charge. This refresh process is the defining characteristic of dynamic random-access memory, in contrast to static random-access memory (SRAM) which does not require data to be refreshed. Unlike flash memory, DRAM is volatile memory, since it loses its data quickly when power is removed. However, DRAM does exhibit limited data remanence.
In computer science, a double-sided disk is a disk of which both sides are used to store data.
When it was released, the Vixen had a retail price of $1298. Customers also had the option of purchasing a 10 megabyte hard disk for $1498.
The Vixen used version 2.2 of the CP/M operating system. It was also bundled with a number of software packages: WordStar, the popular word processing package; SuperCalc, a spreadsheet; MBASIC, a programming language; Osboard, a graphics and drawing program; TurnKey, a system utility; MediaMaster, a data interchange program that allowed compatibility with over "200 other computers"; and Desolation, a game.
CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system created in 1974 for Intel 8080/85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc. Initially confined to single-tasking on 8-bit processors and no more than 64 kilobytes of memory, later versions of CP/M added multi-user variations and were migrated to 16-bit processors.
WordStar is a word processor application that had a dominant market share during the early- to mid-1980s. It was published by MicroPro International, and written for the CP/M operating system but later ported to MS-DOS. Although Seymour I. Rubinstein was the principal owner of the company, Rob Barnaby was the sole author of the early versions of the program. Starting with WordStar 4.0, the program was built on new code written principally by Peter Mierau.
SuperCalc is a CP/M-80 spreadsheet application published by Sorcim in 1981. VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program but its release for the CP/M operating system ran only on the HP-125, Sharp MZ80, and the Sony SMC-70. SuperCalc was created to fill that void and market opportunity. Alongside WordStar, it was one of the CP/M applications bundled with the Osborne 1 portable computer. It quickly became popular and was ported to MS-DOS in 1982.
The Vixen was also known as the Osborne 4. It was developed and released after the bankruptcy of the Osborne corporation. An earlier system also called "Vixen" was never released.Due to technical problems with prototypes and the corporate bankruptcy, by the time the CP/M Vixen was introduced, it had already been made obsolete by MS-DOS IBM PC compatibles. A last ditch effort to design and market a fully IBM PC compatible produced three prototypes, but too late to save the company from bankruptcy.
IBM PC compatible computers are computers similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT, able to use the same software and expansion cards. Such computers used to be referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones. They duplicate almost exactly all the significant features of the PC architecture, facilitated by IBM's choice of commodity hardware components and various manufacturers' ability to reverse engineer the BIOS firmware using a "clean room design" technique. Columbia Data Products built the first clone of the IBM personal computer by a clean room implementation of its BIOS.
|Program Name||Version||Published by||Program Type|
The Tandy 1000 was the first in a line of IBM PC compatible home computer systems produced by the Tandy Corporation for sale in its Radio Shack and Radio Shack Computer Center chains of stores.
IBM PC DOS is a discontinued operating system for the IBM Personal Computer, manufactured and sold by IBM from the early 1980s into the 2000s. Before version 6.1, PC DOS was an IBM-branded version of MS-DOS. From version 6.1 on, PC DOS became IBM's independent product.
The Amstrad PCW series is a range of personal computers produced by British company Amstrad from 1985 to 1998, and also sold under licence in Europe as the "Joyce" by the German electronics company Schneider in the early years of the series' life. The PCW, short for Personal Computer Word-processor, was targeted at the wordprocessing and home office markets. When it was launched the cost of a PCW system was under 25% of the cost of almost all IBM-compatible PC systems in the UK, and as a result the machine was very popular both in the UK and in Europe, persuading many technophobes to venture into using computers. However the last two models, introduced in the mid-1990s, were commercial failures, being squeezed out of the market by the falling prices, greater capabilities and wider range of software for IBM-compatible PCs.
Tiki-100 was a desktop home/personal computer manufactured by Tiki Data of Oslo, Norway. The computer was launched in the spring of 1984 under the original name Kontiki-100, and was first and foremost intended for the emerging educational sector, especially for primary schools. Early prototypes had 4 KB ROM, and the '100' in the machine's name was based on the total KB amount of memory.
Kaypro Corporation was an American home and personal computer manufacturer of the 1980s. The company was founded by Non-Linear Systems to compete with the popular Osborne 1 portable microcomputer. Kaypro produced a line of rugged, "luggable" CP/M-based computers sold with an extensive software bundle which supplanted its competitors and quickly became one of the top-selling personal computer lines of the early 1980s.
Otrona was an early Colorado manufacturer of business portable CP/M and MS-DOS compatible computers.
The Tandy 2000 is a personal computer introduced by Radio Shack in September 1983 based on the 8 MHz Intel 80186 microprocessor running MS-DOS. By comparison, the IBM PC XT used the older 4.77 MHz 8088 processor, and the IBM PC AT would later use the newer 6 MHz Intel 80286. Due to the 16-bit-wide data bus and more efficient instruction decoding of the 80186, the Tandy 2000 ran significantly faster than other PC compatibles, and slightly faster than the PC AT. The Tandy 2000 was the company's first computer built around an Intel x86 series microprocessor; previous models used the Z80 and 68000 CPUs.
The Compaq Portable is an early portable computer which was one of the first 100% IBM PC compatible systems. It was Compaq Computer Corporation's first product, to be followed by others in the Compaq portable series and later Compaq Deskpro series.
The Rainbow 100 was a microcomputer introduced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1982. This desktop unit had a monitor similar to the VT220 in a dual-CPU box with both 4 MHz Zilog Z80 and 4.81 MHz Intel 8088 CPUs. The Rainbow 100 was a triple-use machine: VT100 mode, 8-bit CP/M mode, and 16-bit CP/M-86 or MS-DOS mode using the 8088.
DECmate was the name of a series of PDP-8-compatible computers produced by the Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. All of the models used an Intersil 6100 or Harris 6120 microprocessor which emulated the 12-bit DEC PDP-8 CPU. They were text-only and used the OS/78 or OS/278 operating systems, which were extensions of OS/8 for the PDP-8. Aimed for the word processing market, they typically ran the WPS-8 word-processing program. Later models optionally had Intel 8080 or Z80 microprocessors which allowed them to run CP/M. The range was a development of the VT78 which was introduced in July 1977.
The Osborne Executive was the planned successor of the already commercially successful Osborne 1 portable computer by Osborne Computer Corporation. The Executive was a collection of the good features from the Osborne 1 and fixed some of its predecessor's flaws.
The history of laptops describes the efforts—primarily begun in the 1970s and 1980s—to build small, portable personal computers that combine the components, inputs, outputs and capabilities of a desktop computer in a small chassis. Before laptop/notebook computers were technically feasible, similar ideas had been proposed, most notably Alan Kay's Dynabook concept, developed at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s.
A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium encased in a rectangular plastic carrier. It is read and written using a floppy disk drive (FDD). Floppy disks were an almost universal data format from the late 1970s into the 1990s, used at first as a primary data storage mechanism, and later mostly as a file transfer system as part of what became known as "sneakernet".
The floppy disk is a data storage and transfer device which was ubiquitous from the mid-1970s well into the 2000s. Besides the 3½-inch and 5¼-inch formats used in IBM PC compatible systems, or the 8-inch format that preceded them, many proprietary floppy disk formats were developed, either using a different disk design or special layout and encoding methods for the data held on the disk.
The Zorba was a portable computer running the CP/M operating system manufactured in 1983 and 1984. It was originally manufactured by Telcon Industries of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a company specialized in telecommunication equipment manufacturing.
The Olivetti M20 is a Zilog Z8000 based computer from Olivetti introduced in 1982. Although it offered good performance, it suffered from a lack of software due to its use of the Z8000 processor and custom operating system, PCOS. The company introduced an IBM PC compatible in January 1984 and the M20 line was phased out.