Mobile Friendly computing in the early 80s!
With the dawn of the new Apple iPad we thought it would be fun to have a trip down memory lane with one of our developers who recalls his first ever mobile computer.
It was the early 80s, Michael Jackson's Thriller was top of the charts and our guy was working for a company who specialised in developing all kinds of applications for the transport industry. The majority of applications were built in house, however others were so bespoke that they had to be developed on site at the customer’s premises.
This particular project was to plan the most efficient way to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to their wholesale customers using their haulage fleet across Europe. Our guy spent three days a week at their location working and two days back in the office.
The mobile computer that he used was the called the Contel CADO - a very revolutionary system back in the day and compared to the large main frame computers it could be considered as a early form of laptop computer.
It was a 2 KHz 8085A eight bit processor with 32K of memory! A far cry from today's standards. In terms of its overall size it was over 21 inches wide, 18 inches high and 21 inches deep and it weighted in just over 20 pounds! This "mini" computer consisted of a screen, 2 X 8" floppy drives and of course the motherboard. No mouse, you had to use the curser keys to get anywhere on the screen!
One 8" floppy drive ran the operating system and the other the programme! Just for a quick comparison, the new iPad processor is over 1 million times fast than the Contel CADO, hard to get your head around!
Who'd have thought things would have progressed so much.
The best part of this story, is that our guy actually used it as a 'mobile' computer and every day he had to transport it in the boot of his little red Suzuki Alto.
Honestly, the story just gets better and better!