Gavilan SC
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The Gavilan SC is a
laptop A laptop, laptop computer, or notebook computer is a small, portable personal computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a ...
computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations ( computation) automatically. Modern digital electronic computers can perform generic sets of operations known as programs. These p ...
and was the first ever to be marketed as a "laptop".


History

The brainchild of Gavilan Computer Corp. founder Manuel (Manny) Fernandez, the Gavilan was introduced in May 1983, at approximately the same time as the similar Sharp PC-5000. It came to market a year after the GRiD Compass, with which it shared several pioneering details, notably a clamshell design, in which the screen folds shut over the keyboard. The Gavilan, however, was more affordable than the GRiD, at a list price of around US$4000. Unlike the GRiD, it was equipped with a
floppy disk drive A floppy disk or floppy diskette (casually referred to as a floppy, or a diskette) is an obsolescent type of disk storage composed of a thin and flexible disk of a magnetic storage medium in a square or nearly square plastic enclosure lined ...
and used the
MS-DOS MS-DOS ( ; acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System, also known as Microsoft DOS) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services f ...
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs. Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may al ...
, although it was only partially
IBM PC The IBM Personal Computer (model 5150, commonly known as the IBM PC) is the first microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of ...
-compatible. Powered by a 5  MHz Intel 8088 processor, it was equipped with a basic
graphical user interface The GUI ( "UI" by itself is still usually pronounced . or ), graphical user interface, is a form of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and audio indicator such as primary notation, in ...
, stored in its 48 KB of ROM. The operating system used a FORTH-like interpreter to generate very compact code. An internal 300-baud
modem A modulator-demodulator or modem is a computer hardware device that converts data from a digital format into a format suitable for an analog transmission medium such as telephone or radio. A modem transmits data by modulating one or more ...
was standard. A compact printer that attached to the rear of the machine was an option. The machine's included software was a terminal program, MS-DOS, and MBasic (a version of the
BASIC BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages designed for ease of use. The original version was created by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz at Dartmouth Colleg ...
programming language A programming language is a system of notation for writing computer programs. Most programming languages are text-based formal languages, but they may also be graphical. They are a kind of computer language. The description of a programmin ...
). An Office Pack of four applications— Sorcim SuperCalc and SuperWriter, and pfs:File and pfs:Report—was optional. It was far smaller than competing IBM compatible portables, such as the Compaq Portable, which were the size of a portable
sewing machine A sewing machine is a machine used to sew fabric and materials together with Thread (yarn), thread. Sewing machines were invented during the first Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing companies. ...
and weighed more than twice the Gavilan's 4 kg (9 lb), and unlike the Gavilan they could not run off batteries. Gavilan claimed the SC could run up to nine hours on its built-in nickel-cadmium batteries. Jack Hall, an award-winning industrial designer, was chosen to work out the
ergonomics Human factors and ergonomics (commonly referred to as human factors) is the application of psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. Four primary goals of human factors learnin ...
, mechanics and overall appearance of the Gavilan. An extremely compact printer module was the result of a collaboration between Hall Design and C. Itoh of Japan. Additionally, several patentable features such as the unique display hinge and printer attachment mechanism were embodied in the design. The Gavilan sported an LCD display with an unusual resolution of 400×64 pixels. It included a pioneering touchpad-like pointing device, installed on a panel above the keyboard. It used static CMOS memory, and came with 64 kilobytes standard. Memory was expandable through plug-in modules, for which there were four slots available (each 32 KB "CapsuleRam" module cost and included a backup battery); these slots could also be used for software ROM cartridges. With standards for microfloppy drives still emerging, Gavilan was designed to accommodate both a 3.0-inch 320 KB microfloppy drive as well as a 3.5-inch floppy drive. Slow sales, due to the as yet undeveloped market for laptops, caused Gavilan Computer Corp. to declare Chapter 11
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from some or all of their debts. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order A court order is an offici ...
with cash flow problems. The company ceased operations in 1985.


Reception

''
BYTE The byte is a unit of digital information that most commonly consists of eight bits. Historically, the byte was the number of bits used to encode a single character of text in a computer and for this reason it is the smallest addressable un ...
'' in June 1983 called the Gavilan "a traveling professional's dream come true ... tpromises to set new industry standards, not only for truly portable computers, but also for integration of applications software".


References


External links


Oldcomputers.net:Gavilan SC




* ttp://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n1/38_14_notebook_computers_in_.php 1984 article reviewing various pocket and portable computers, including the Gavilan* {{Citation , url = http://vintage-laptops.com/?page_id=52&lang=en , contribution = Gavilan SC, 360 degree model , title = Vintage Laptop Museum , type = museum. Laptops History of computing hardware Computer-related introductions in 1983