Remembering IBM's 5150 in a post-PC era

IBM logoRonald Reagan was U.S. president, MTV launched on cable TV and Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi sent Sukhoi Su-22 fighter jets to intercept American fighters over the Gulf of Sidra.

Of course, August 1981 was also the month IBM kicked off the the modern PC revolution with the debut of its 5150.

The $1,565 starting price tag bought a system unit, keyboard and color/graphics capability. Additional options included a display, printer, two diskette drives, extra memory, communications, game adapter and application packages - including one for text processing.

IBM 5150

The system unit - powered by an Intel 8088 microprocessor - was the size of a portable typewriter and contained 40K of read-only memory, 16K of user memory, as well as a built-in speaker for generating music. Its five expansion slots could be used to connect such features as expanded memory, display/printing units and game "paddles."

Containing 83 keys, the keyboard was connected to the unit by a six-foot coiled cable, which meant users could rest it in their lap or on the desktop without moving the rest of the system. It also featured such advanced functions as a numeric keypad and 10 special keys - enabling users to write or edit text, figure accounts and store data.

Although Big Blue may have started the PC revolution way back when, Mark Dean, IBM's CTO for the Middle East and Africa, says he is proud the corporation embraced the post-PC era in 2005 by selling its personal computer business to Lenovo.

"My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline," Dean wrote in a blog post titled "IBM leads the way in the post-PC era," published on A Smarter Planet.

"But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing. They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs."

Dean also noted PCs were being replaced by "new ideas" about the role computing can play in terms of progress.

"These days, it's becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact... It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people's lives."

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft rep Frank X. Shaw responded quite differently to the anniversary of IBM's 5150, saying he prefers to think of 2011 and beyond as the "PC-plus" era.

"We have a unique point of view when it comes to this future of devices and services. As we look ahead to the next 30 years, we'll continue to lead the industry forward in bringing technology to the next billion (or 2 billion or 6 billion) people on our planet.

"[These] experiences [will] combine increasingly powerful and specialized devices with cloud services that'll make it breathtakingly simple to create, organize, share, find, analyze and archive information, from documents and presentations, to photos, videos [and] podcasts."

Source: TG Daily

Tags: IBM

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (16)