In September 1975, IBM announced its smallest and first portable computer (If you consider a 28 Kgs. computer portable, that is), the IBM 5100, no bigger than one of IBM's typewriters.
Developed in Rochester, it used the same operating system as IBM's /370 line of main frames. Thus it could accommodate the same APL interpreter, permitting the use of APL programs. A BASIC interpreter was also available, depending of the 5100 version chosen.
This was the first widely marketed and supported personal computer, and definitely the first useful all-in-one, portable computer system. However, it was a very primitive machine that was largely unsuccessful due to its high price tag (basic version costed $8,975) and limited expansion capabilities.
It had a built-in tape drive and a small 5" 64 character display. A special display mode allowed the user to select right or left bigger 32 chars. of each line.
The tape drive used a 1/4 inch DC300 tape cartridge and stored 204 KB of data.
The 5100 didn't feature a microprocessor chip, but a card called PALM (Put All Logic in Microcode) which acted as a 16-bit microprocessor.
Notice that the 5100 is the first serial number of IBM "Personal Computer" range that will later include the 5110, 5120, 5150 (IBM-PC) and 5160 (PC-XT).
Some asked about PALM. It stood for "program all logic in memory." I recall it as an 8 bit machine, though.
Tuesday 19th February 2013
Wow, I worked on one of these in 1982-83. It was unused at the time. It had been bought by the lumberyard where I worked when they were flush with cash after the snows of 1978-79 caused a garage building bonanza. I taught myself BASIC programming on this thing and wrote an inventory system. I never could get used to GW BASIC after using IBM's powerful code (GW BASIC was crap, as far as I was concerned).
The original cost of the system: $17,000 in 1979 money, about $48,000 today. The machine had 32K of memory total, for both the BASIC program and my code, two 8" disk drives and a 132 column dot matrix printer. Amazing...
Wednesday 30th August 2006
Vicki Davisson (Phoenix, Arizona)
a blast from the past. I used one of these to score a golf tournament, borrowed from the now defunkt IBM training centre in West London
Saturday 19th August 2006
END OF PRODUCTION
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
BASIC or APL or both
Full stroke 74 keys with numeric keypad and arrow keys
IBM circuit module
16 KB to 64 KB by 16 KB steps
32 KB to 64 KB
64 chars. x 16 lines
No sound capabilities
SIZE / WEIGHT
5103 printer and 5106 external tape drive unit
BUILT IN MEDIA
Built-in 204 KB DC600 tape drive
APL or BASIC
Built-in power supply unit
From $8975 (BASIC 16 KB) to $19,975 (BASIC+APL 64 KB)