1971 - Kenbak-1
The Kenbak-1 was designed by John V. Blankenbaker, using integrated circuits. It was considered the first personal computer. Switches performed the input, and lights displayed the output. It had a 256 byte memory. It's price was about $750. After two years, when only 40 machines had been sold, Kenbak Corp. decided not to sell them any more.
The 8-inch floppy diskettes were invented by a group of workers at IBM. They were used for both programs and as data storage mediums. They allowed information to be easily transferred from one computer to another.
The TV Typewriter was designed by Don Lancaster. It was the first machine to provide the first display of letters and numbers on a regular television set. It could generate and store 512 characters in 16 lines. Information could also be stored on 90 minute cassette tapes, about 100 pages fitting on each.
The Micral was a personal computer based on the Intel 8008 microprocessor. Thi Truong, founder and president of the French company R2E, made the computer for those that didn't need high performance. Philippe Kahn developed the software for the computer. Because of it's price of $1,750, the US computer users did not take interest in Micral.
The alto was the first work station with a built-in mouse for input. It used windows, menus, icons, and could link to a network. It was created by Researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The Alto was never sold commercially, but given to universities.
Scelbi's 8H computer, was based on Intel's 8008 microprocessor. The computer was available both in kit form and fully assembled. It had 4 kilobytes of internal memory and a cassette tape. It came with both teletype and oscilloscope interfaces. Just one year later, Scelbi came out with 8B, which had 16 kilobytes. The company sold about 200 machines, and lost $500 per unit.
The 5 1/4" flexible disk drive and diskette, made by Shugart Associates, was created because the 8 in. floppy drives were considered to large for desktop computers. Within two years, more than 10 manufacturers were producing 5 1/4" floppy drives.
The Altair 8800 computer kit, based on Intel's 8080 microprocessor. It was invented by Ed Roberts. The manufacturing company, MITS, sold many machines, at a price of $297 or $395 with a case. Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed BASIC as the software language for the Altair. The computer had 256 bytes of memory (expandable to 64K) and an open 100-line bus structure that evolved into the S-100 standard. Two years later, MITS was bought by Pertec, which continued producing Altairs for one more year.
The visual display module (VDM) prototype was designed by Lee Felsenstein. It was a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. The visual display module allowed use of personal computers for interactive games.
Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I, a single-board computer, using the 6502 microprocessor. The Byte Shop ordered 100 boards at $500, to begin the business for Wozniak and Steve Jobs. In this photograph, the upper two rows are a video terminal and the lower two rows are the computer. About 200 Apple Is were sold before the Apple II, a complete computer was announced.
The Cray I was considered the first commercially successful vector processor. At the time it came out, it was the fastest machine. It's C shape allowed the wires to be a bit shorter, lessening the time for signals to travel them. It's speed was 166 million floating-point operations per second. The designing of the Cray I took four years to accomplish. It is 56 cubic feet in size, and weighs 5,300 pounds. It's made using integrated circuits.
The Commodore Personal Electronic Transactor came fully assembled, with two built-in cassette drives and a keyboard. It was considered easy to operate, and had a choice of 4 or 8 kilobytes of memory.
The Apple II came with a printed circuit, motherboard, switching power supply keyboard, case assembly, manual, joystick, A/C power cord, and cassette tape with the computer game "Breakout." Even though it did not include a monitor, it could be connected to a television set. It had 16 K of memory.
Tandy Radio Shack's first desktop computer cost $599.95. 10,000 machines were sold in one year, far better than predicted 3,000. The TRS-80 was based on the Z80 microprocessor, had 4 KB of memory, and cassette storage. It came with video display, the language BASIC, and well written manuals.
The VAX 11/780, made by Digital Equipment Corp., had 4.3 gigabytes of virtual memory, much more than the minicomputers of its time.
The Motorola 68000 microprocessor was constructed. It was much faster than other microprocessors of that time. It was used commonly used for graphics-intensive programs.
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