How can I live without computers, smartphones and other gadgets today? Even more difficult to realize is that 50 years ago, these technologies could only be learned from science fiction books.
The first computers were created after the end of World War II. They were very large and expensive (they cost even more than the latest version of the modern MacBook). Therefore, only such employees of serious organizations, banks or leading universities could play such toys. But the development of home PCs (personal computers) was in the second half of the twentieth century. The first one is a PDP-8 mini-computer. It was released in March 1965, it was done by the corporation Digital Equipment Corporation.
It should be noted that when we call the PDP-8 a mini-computer, we mean that it did not occupy the entire room. PDP-8 was no more than a regular refrigerator, which for our time sounds pretty wild. Its price was $ 18500, but this did not prevent computer enthusiasts from buying this miracle of technology. Therefore PDP-8 became not only the first home PC, but also the first commercially successful computer.
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The next “breakthrough” was made by the company MITS, when in 1975 it released the computer Altair 8800. It is considered one of the “revolutionaries” of home PCs, as well as the first step in the formation of companies manufacturing personal computers.
What is the secret of Altair 8800? It was compact, productive and inexpensive. For only $ 439 each person could purchase parts for the computer and collect it using the magazine Popular Electronics. For 621 $ it was possible to receive already ready model. Altair 8800 had an Intel 8080 microprocessor with a clock speed of 2 MHz, and also processed 8 and 16-bit numbers. By the way, Bill Gates started his career precisely thanks to Altair 8800!
At the same time, two more computer enthusiasts – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – decided to create a company that would develop computer technology. Their truly revolutionary project can be called Apple II, which appeared in 1977. Jobs and Wozniak demonstrated how a general-purpose computer should be. Since that time, technicians could be used not only by enthusiasts or amateurs, but also by ordinary citizens.
IBM PC 5150
In 1981, IBM joined the mass excitement and released IBM PC 5150, which probably still can be found in some government agencies.
The computer is considered one of the most successful home PCs in the world. In total, 20 million devices were sold. The PC was equipped with a MOS 6510 processor. It could also be connected to a TV and used as a game console.
The next successful product of Apple was Macintosh, which finally determined the type of personal computer. The main innovations that the product sported were a mouse and a completely graphical interface. In fact, this is the great-grandfather of all modern iMacs and MacBooks. And this is the first computer that greeted its future users.
IBM PC Convertible
IBM PC Convertible is the first laptop in the world, which was introduced by IBM in 1986. It had an Intel 80S88 processor and 256 KB of RAM, which could be expanded to 512 KB. Also the laptop could boast of two disk drives and a modem. The PC was sold very poorly. It was heavy, not fast enough, and it was not easy to read from a liquid crystal monitor. IBM PC Convertible still remains the first laptop that was released in mass production and influenced the further development of the industry.
A little bit about the future
Technologies do not cease to develop. Now most companies are trying to create high-performance computers that would not take up much space. Leading is Apple, whose products over the past decade has gained immense popularity in all corners of the Earth.
Large personal computers are beginning to give way to ultra-thin laptops and tablets (although there are still enthusiasts who independently assemble and upgrade their PCs). According to forecasts of specialists, in 100 years the functions of a laptop or PC will be performed by smart watches, smartphones and holographphones, and powerful computers will be used to calculate large amounts of information.