Sony tried. You’ve got to give them credit for that.
IBM chose a bland putty-beige for their first personal computer in 1981 and most others fell into lockstep with that, even Apple. But Sony dared to be different in 1984 when they released their stunning red HB-101 Hit Bit.
The public, of course, armed with their so-called ‘good taste’ soundly rejected it. There is an aversion to color in our modern world that has grown to something like a phobia. In Los Angeles today, 83% of cars sold are monochromatic— some shade of white, silver-gray, or black. Check out a parking lot near you. Color is only for children, or so the drab would have us believe.
Radio Shack’s TRS-80 (Japan) pocket computer with “Printer Cassette Interface” is from 1980. The computer itself measures just 6-7/8 by 2-3/4 by 5/8 inches. The printer writes to paper tape only 1-3/4 inches wide, like a calculator.
The 9-inch screen black & white Apple Macintosh shown here looks like the very first Macintosh from 1984, but this hot rod, the SE model from 1986, came with 1 MB of RAM and two floppy drives.
The Apple Macintosh Portable to the right of the Mac SE sold new in 1989 for $6,500! It weighs over 16 pounds, mostly because it has a lead-acid battery (like your car!). Screen size is 10" diagonal. This is the first laptop Macintosh, predating the PowerBook and long before the MacBook.
And here in silver is the Timex Sinclair “2068 Personal Color Computer” made in Korea by Timex Computer Corporation. The black one below it is the Timex Sinclair 1000, made in Portugal. Yes, Portugal. The white Sinclair ZX80 from England (1980) was offered as a kit. These last two employ so-called membrane keyboards, the same sort of annoying imitation push-buttons they put on your microwave oven to save money. How anyone could type on that is beyond me.
The Family Computer by Nintendo (1983, this example 1988) occupied that overlapping gray area between computers and video games. Plans for an added keyboard, cassette data storage, and computer software cartridges were eventually scrapped in favor of gaming.
And so The Family Computer morphed eventually into the Nintendo Entertainment System. Where’s the video display? As with the Timex Sinclair and many other early computers, for video they had to be connected to a television set.
As we entered the all-computers-have-to-be-black phase, one standout is this Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300. It has a little mouse that comes out the side on a tether.
At the time of the introduction of this OmniBook 300 in 1993, according to HP, this was the smallest and lightest PC on the market to feature a full-size keyboard and full VGA (9-inch monochrome) screen.
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