Gavilan SC
Introduced:May 1983
Price:US $3995
Weight:9 pounds
CPU:Intel 8088 @ 5 MHz
RAM:32K built-in
Display:LCD - 66 X 8 text
400 X 64 pixels
Interface:standard keyboard
touch-pad "mouse"
Ports:video, serial, modem
Peripherals:optional printer
Storage:Internal 3.5-inch floppy
OS:Gavilan OS
MS-DOS 2.11

At the Anaheim National Computer Conference in May of 1983, Gavilan introduced the smallest and lightest battery-powered MS-DOS laptop computer to date, the Gavilan Mobile Computer.

Some attribute the Gavilan as the world's first laptop computer, but that record is often given to the GRiD Compass 1101 introduced a year earlier in 1982, although the GRiD has no built-in floppy disk drive, and doesn't run on batteries.

The Gavilan featured 3.5-inch floppy drive, a 400 X 64 pixel LCD screen, an innovative touch-pad "mouse", and an internal 300-baud modem.

The user interface is a system of windows, files, menus, and interactive prompts. To select what you want to do, the solid-state touch-pad is mounted above the keyboard - use your finger like a mouse to interact with the system.

The Gavilan SC has space for up to four 32K plug-in capsules of battery-backed RAM ($350 each), or applications software packages.

A great system years ahead of its time, but financial mistakes, and bad luck, caused Gavilan to enter "Chapter 11" the same year their computer was released; they folded in 1985.

October 1984
The Gavilan Computer Corporation, a closely held manufacturer of lap-model personal computers, said that it filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal bankruptcy laws in San Jose, Calif.

The company, which a year ago began marketing a portable computer that drew acclaim throughout the industry, ran into several delays in introducing new models. The company also suffered from slow sales of lightweight lap computers, and encountered heavy competition from a number of other manufacturers. Gavilan officials said last week that efforts to sell the company had failed, and that all but about two dozen employees had been dismissed.

Related Links

  • 14 notebook computers in brief from Classic Computer Magazine Archive
  • "Manuel Fernandez: My Biggest Mistake" - The rise and fall of Gavilan.

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