IBM 5100: Advertising The First Portable Computer
By James Grahame
Ain't she a beauty? You're admiring IBM's first microcomputer, released in late 1975. The featherweight (it tipped the scales at a mere 55 lbs) Model 5100 was marketed as a portable, thanks to an optional carrying case. It was based on a 16-bit processor module dubbed the PALM which featured no less than 15 discrete chips, and the machine was available with between 16 and 64 KB of main memory (at a cost of $8,975 to $19,795). Two programming languages were available: BASIC and APL.
I imagine this svelte little beast must have set the research and business worlds on ear by integrating a 5-inch monochrome CRT, computer, keyboard and 200K DC33 tape storage unit in a compact case. Still, it was far too expensive for casual hobbyists, who would have to wait another couple of years for mass market "home" machines like the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I, the Commodore PET and the Apple II to ignite the microcomputer revolution.
IBM 5100 Portable Computer [IBM Archives]