PC Convertible

pc-convertibleThis was IBM’s first portable computer (shown here with printer attached). Released on April 3rd, 1986, it was also known as the IBM 5140. It featured power managment, the ability to run on batteries, and a CMOS version of the Intel 8088. It ran at a galloping 4mhz and had 256k of ram, which was expandable to 512k. With a monochrome VGA screen that ran in 640×200 at highest resolution , it cost around $2000. But like many laptops of the time, it wasn’t that “portable”, it’s total weight was around 14lbs. It also had a few expansion capabilities including using an internal modem. It didn’t have the ability to support internal hard drives though, and this along with other shortcomings doomed the machine to dismal sales. Competitors were offering faster, lighter portables for half the price.

From the original press release, 1986:

The IBM PC Convertible is a portable personal computer designed for professional applications and personal productivity. It is designed to enhance personal computing capability with two power options (battery or AC). The uniqueness of the system unit is the integration of microprocessor, LCD display, dual 3.5 Inch Diskette Drives, keyboard, memory, within a lightweight, full function system that can be carried easily. The IBM PC Convertible maintains compatibility with 5.25 inch diskette drive systems through asynchronous communications or through an IBM 4865 Personal Computer 3.5 Inch External Diskette Drive that attaches to the IBM Personal Computer, IBM Personal Computer XT, IBM Portable Personal Computer, and IBM Personal Computer AT.

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