Hewlett-Packard HP 110
Introduced:May 1984
Weight:9 pounds
CPU:Harris 80C86 @ 5.33MHz
Terminal emulator
Lotus 123 version 1A
Display:80 x 16 text LCD
480 x 128 pixels
Batteries:rechargeable lead-acid
Ports:HP-IL, RS-232
Built in 300 baud modem
OS:MS-DOS 2.11 in ROM

The HP 110 computer, also known as the HP Portable, is a portable MS-DOS computer produced by Hewlett-Packard. Probably the finest portable computer of its day, it has four-times the screen display as the popular but older TRS-80 model 100, and is screaming-fast at over 5 MHz.

The HP-110 is fairly heavy at 9 pounds, but has exceptional battery life, up to 16 hours. The operating system is MS-DOS 2.11, permanently stored in ROM. The BASIC programming language is not built-in, you have to load if from an external drive.

There is an enormous 256K of RAM, with MemoMaker, Lotus 123 and a terminal emulator built-in. Since the applications are executed directly from ROM, more RAM is available for user data.

The RAM is divided between system RAM and electronic disk emulation - a RAM-disk. Application data is stored on this virtual disk drive, which is fully MS-DOS compatible - it can even be formatted. Since the CMOS-based RAM is very power-efficient, stored data will be kept for months on a single charge.

On the down-side, there is no easy way to upgrade this system, as there are no internal expansion slots. It has no built-in floppy drive or hard disk, nor a standard cassette recorder interface.

The external ports are an HP-IL interface, a serial port, and a phone connection for the internal 300 baud modem, which works with the built-in terminal emulator.

The HP-IL interface is a two-wire, serial interface that can support up to 30 devices at once. Compatible devices include printers, the HP digital cassette drive, the HP-9114B battery-powered floppy drive (seen here on the right), and various test equipment.

One month after the HP 110 was released, BYTE magazine published a preview of the system, in June 1984.

In 1985, shortly after the HP 110 was released, HP came-out with the HP 110 Plus, or HP Portable Plus (model 45711A), priced at $2295, $700 cheaper than the 110.

It is very similar to the original 110, with these improvements:

A nice black carrying case is available for your HP 110 computer.

This HP-110 Plus system has additional ROMs installed for Time Manager, HP and VT Terminal, as well as Microsoft BASIC.

Related Links

  • Hewlett-Packard Series 100 FAQ from Blinkenlights Archaeological Institute
  • HP 110 at Silicium, The french computer museum

  • History of Hewlett-Packard Computers

    • 1972: Hewlett-Packard pioneers the era of personal computing with the first scientific hand-held calculator, the HP-35, which makes the engineer's slide rule obsolete.
    • 1973: Stephen Wozniak joins HP.
    • 1976: Steve Wozniak proposes that HP create a personal computer. He is rejected.
    • 1976: October - Steve Wozniak remains at HP, but is soon convinced that he should leave and join Apple Computer.
    • 1976: HP begins Project Capricorn, to build a computer-like calculator.
    • 1980: January - HP completes work on the Capricorn project, producing the HP-85. With a 32-character wide CRT display, small built-in printer, cassette tape recorder, and keyboard, it sold for US$3250.
    • 1980: February - HP announces that it will switch to Japanese makers of 16K RAM chips. HP had examined chips from Japan and the US, and found that chips from the best American firm had six times the failure rate of the worst Japanese producer.
    • 1982: HP introduces the HP-75C portable computer. Price is US$995.
    • 1983: June - HP introduces the HP-7475A 6-pen plotter, for US$1895.
    • 1983: October - HP unveils the HP-150 microcomputer.
    • 1984: May - HP introduces the HP-110 laptop computer.
    • 1984: HP introduces the LaserJet laser printer, featuring 300dpi resolution, for US$3,600.
    • 1987: HP releases the HP PaintJet color inkjet printer.
    • 1989: May - HP buys workstation maker Apollo Computer for US$476 million.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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