History of Computers
Binary code, Boolean logic, and the Turing machine all helped pave the way for computers as we think of them today. To meet missile guidance demands during World War II, IBM and Harvard University teamed up to create the Harvard Mark I, a mechanical computer eight feet tall and fifty-one feet wide. This was the first modern computer. Columbia University features detailed photographs and more information on their Mark I history site.
In 1981, Osborne Computers released the Osborne 1 computer, considered to be the first consumer laptop. It weighed 24.5 pounds and cost $1,795.
Hewlett-Packard (HP), a technology company started in 1939, developed its first computer in 1966. The HP 2116A, as it was called, was a controller for several different instruments. In 1974, HP developed a memory processing system that used dynamic random access memory chips (DRAM), as opposed to the magnetic cores that were popular. The HP history page details the entire history of the company. The first personal computer was available in 1975: the MITAS Altair computer. It came in a box and had to be assembled by the purchaser. PC History has the complete history of the Altair on their website. This was the computer that inspired Harvard freshman Bill Gates to drop out.
The first Apple computer, the Apple I, was available a year later. The history of Apple Computers can be found on the Apple History website. After the Apple I, personal computers became smaller, easier to use, and more powerful by leaps and bounds, though . In 1977, Paul Owen and Bill Gates started the Microsoft Company. GamePlayer has written up the complete history of Microsoft, spanning from the birth of Bill Gates in 1955 through to September 2008.
In 1981, Osborne Computers released the Osborne 1 computer, considered to be the first consumer laptop. It weighed 24.5 pounds and cost $1,795. Once manufacturers began developing smaller and smaller technology, the personal computer revolution really took off. Several new computer models came out each year, each one more powerful than the ones before. Once the size of a whole room, the home computer now fit easily on a small desk.
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