A Computer in Your Pocket, 1980s Style


These days, having a little computer in your pocket is par for the course. But forty years ago, this was a new and high tech idea. [The 8-Bit Guy] has a great video covering the state of the art in pocket computers and personal digital assistants from the 1980s and 1990s. You can see the video below.
There are a lot of familiar faces on the video including the Radio Shack pocket computers, Palm Pilots, and some more obscure machines of varying quality.
It might impress you to know that the Radio Shack TRS-80 PC-1 pocket computer actually had two CPUs. Of course, each CPU was a 4-bit processor running at 256 kHz, so maybe not as impressive as it sounds. Still, what a marvel in its day, programming BASIC on a 24-character LCD.

The Casio PB-700 from 1983. For under $200, you got a 4-line display, with each line having 20 characters. But it also had some graphic capabilities. You could even get an optional docking station that provided a color plotter and a microcassette recorder. Unfortunately, they were not widely available, at least in the United States.
If you want ultra-portable, the Seiko UC-2000 was actually a wristwatch that could dock with a keyboard and printer. Unfortunately, [Guy] couldn’t get a battery for it, but we did enjoy seeing him take it apart to pull out the dead battery.
I suspect the personal anecdote at the end will be somewhat familiar to many people who were school-aged in the 1970s and 1980s. Times have certainly changed.
You can fit a lot more computing power in your pocket today, of course. This video isn’t the only nostalgic love letter we’ve seen for computers of that era .

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