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Time Warp Computer Prices
Date 4th August 2004
Author James "Agg" Rolfe


Early 80's and Conclusion

Anyone remember Osborne? They were bought by Gateway 2000 eventually, but back in 1983 they were advertising their "Osborne 1" suitcase PC with what looks like a tiny onboard screen. Mig scanned these from the May 1983 issue of Your Computer magazine.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

Sharkx's entry doesn't show the date, but it's apparently from the August 1981 issue of the American magazine Byte. People are complaining about the shrinking warranties of hard drives lately, but how would you feel getting only 1 year's warranty on a US$3400 drive? If 10MB is too intimidating for you, you can choose the 5MB option instead.

Click to Enlarge

Sounds more like "the hard disk you'll run screaming from". Spingo, who's cheating because he works for them, sent in a scan from the 6th ever issue of APC magazine: November 1980. I'm pretty sure this ATARI system with paddles is the same that my grandfather had in England - I remember playing a pong/tennis game on it. I guess that makes it the first computer I ever used? There's a heap of good stuff on this page. Spot the "Tandy Compatible" DICK SMITH SYSTEM 80 - and whatever happened to the "stringy floppy"?

Click to Enlarge

Jonathan goes one better with the October 1980 issue of Electronics Australia. 128K memory expansion for $2305 or a 2.5MB HDD for $2650. Imagine having one of those rear-projection monster screens displaying text in your house. The article about weather reports is interesting. Sounds like a precursor to the train-announcement and other recorded-voice systems we take for granted now. There's some info on Intel there, too.

Click to Enlarge   Click to Enlarge

So, there you have it. I realise this isn't a comprehensive "history of personal computing" article and it wasn't intended to be. For a 24-hour snapshot we covered a lot of ground. It was a trip down memory lane for me and I learned quite a lot - hopefully you did too. Thanks to everyone who sent in scans! Frankly, I'm left puzzling over how anyone could afford to be an enthusiast back in the early surge of home computers. So, the next time you complain about the cost of your next upgrade, consider yourself lucky you're not stuck in 1983!



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