Atari’s iPhone Killer

July 31, 2009

Atari Portfolio

Okay, well maybe it’s not a true competitor to the iPhone, seeing how it lacks cellular capabilities and only has a 5MHz processor. But it did come out 18 years before the iPhone and was the first hand-held computer made available to consumers. Even Palm’s debut of the Pilot wasn’t for another 7 years. The Atari Portfolio was ahead of it’s time

The Specs

Processor: Intel 80C88 CPU@ 4.9152MHz
Operating System: DIP DOS 2.11
RAM: 128kB
ROM: 256kB
Screen: Monochrome with 240×64 Resolution (40 characters x 8 lines)
Dimensions: 20cm x 10.5cm x 2.5cm
Weight: 17.5 oz / 505g

You may actually remember this device from Terminator 2 when John Connor used it to hack into a bank machine as well as into Cyberdyne Systems. But beyond that, the Portfolio was met with limited success — perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for handheld computers yet.

Here are some pictures of magazine ads for the portfolio that I managed to dig up: Page 1 · Page 2

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  1. You forgot about Newton by Apple – I think it is about same years (18 or more years ago)

  2. That is a fabulous blog post, not that hard to go through. Thank you for finding time for you to share your all of your musings.

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