Original British laptop designer remembered

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Original British laptop designer remembered

Simon Quicke

The British inventor credited with bringing the first laptop to market passed away at the weekend throwing the spotlight on the history of the portable computer.

William Moggridge designed what was the original laptop design the Compass, with a screen and a keyboard hinged together releasing the product back in 1982.

It found a popular market with the US military but at a cost that ran into the thousands, with £5,000 the starting price, it was never a mainstream product on release.

Most of the innovations that the London-born Moggridge incorporated in his designs have been used in laptops up to the current versions.

Although he studied at Central St Martins College of Art and Design the success in the tech field came after he moved to Palo Alto in the late 1970s.

The Compass, which measured 15 by 12 inches with a luminous screen and a keyboard came to market with the name of Grid Systems on the case. Moggridge had been hired by the firm, which was later acquired by Tandy in 1988, to design a computer that fitted into a briefcase.


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