toshiba

Pocket Computing

HP 200lx (1994) and Poqet PC (1989) are x86/XT compatibles with DOS in ROM. Poqet PC is more like a standard PC and has a better keyboard. On the other side HP is loaded with full-featured productivity programs (PIM, Lotus spreadsheet, word processor, scientific and financial calculators…) and a special easy-to-use graphics environment.

Libretto 70CT (1997) runs standard Windows 95/NT. Except for the size this is a normal laptop. Toshiba somehow managed to squeeze a 2.5-inch hard drive and the Pentium CPU in a package with the size of Windows CE handhelds.

Laptop display troubles

IBM PS/2 Model P70 (1989) on the left side and Toshiba T2200SX (1991) on the right side. The IBM machine is equipped with a gas-plasma display and Toshiba has a typical side-lit passive-matrix LCD. The photo can hardly show how superior the plasma screen is. Its black is so deep that it cannot be beaten with any modern LCD. It is as fast as CRT monitors (unlike passive-matrix LCDs with 300ms response time) and as sharp as active-matrix LCDs (that were introduced a year after this machine).

There are no plasma screens in laptops today so where was the catch? It was in power consumption which was significantly higher. Typical machine with a gas-plasma display was either AC-only or with battery life usually up to one hour. Active matrix displays started to be affordable in 1992-1993 and with their color capability and lower power consumption they pushed plasma screens out of the market. Until then gas-plasma displays were the hi-end choice for many portables.

My P70 in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaaIg8mrBkE

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Headless SGI workstation?

No problem, if you have a null-modem cable and terminal emulator software. SGI O2 (and other MIPS-based SGI workstations) uses the first serial port as the main output for all system messages and OS console if no keyboard is attached (or if firmware is set to prioritize the serial connection). You can access firmware settings, install IRIX to an empty hard drive or boot the system. This is a full replacement for keyboard and mouse unless you need graphics.

IRIX allows you to configure both serial ports to handle terminal connection (other options are MIDI and standard serial interface) so you can have three users working with one computer locally.